P.O.W # 20 Organic Grocery Delivery, DNA testing, EMS Training

“3 P’s for Optimal Performance and Health”
 
The Power of 3..
 

PRACTICAL: Organic Grocery Delivery Service

We recently signed up with Fresh City Farms to receive fresh, local and organic groceries right to our door. The concept suits most people with busy lives that care about eating the best quality food and for the right price. For just $30 weekly (delivery cost included or free when spending over $75) we receive a 2 person bag every Monday (you can choose the day that suits you). We decided to chose the local only bag to ensure we eat what’s in season, although we may try out another bag as you can change your weekly order very easily on their website. You don’t even need to be home when the delivery is made, they will leave it at your door in a cooler bag and with freezer packs (if needed). So far, we’re very pleased and it’s makes for interesting meal ideas. Chef Andy is back at it! *as I kiss the tips of my fingers* . My other favourite part is that you can choose 6 items to put on a “never send” list.  So, if you have allergies or REALLY dislike Cilantro like myself, then you never have to see it in your bag! (No ruining Guacamole up in this house!)

Here’s what we received these past two weeks: Corn on the cob, Zucchini, Radishes, Beets, Micro-Greens, plums, purple grapes and peaches.  The Second bag we received :  Rainbow carrots, loose spring mix, a bag of white onions, squash, beets, mushrooms, nectarines, plums, and we replaced two local items with Bananas and avocados since we do eat those weekly. They have a bakery (regular and gluten free) and deliver local organic brands of dairy and eggs. So this week we also added organic eggs, goat yogurt and goat cheese to our order. You have the ability to request extra items to be added to your fruit and veg bag as “weekly” or just order it the one time as a ” one off” item.  You can change/customize your bag up to 24 hours before delivery. We are really enjoying the convenience and the the creativity in our meals. We’ve made zucchini pasta, roasted beets with goat cheese salads and used all of the greens attached to the radishes and beets, egg and mushrooms omelettes, added carrots and onions to our bone broths, and have snacked on fruit and yogurt for desserts.  We’re eating less animal protein per meal and focusing on lots of veg. We visit our local butcher every weekend to treat our selves to local, organic Grass-fed beef or pork and grab some bones for bone broth. Our digestion is at it’s best it’s ever been, we’re feeling stronger and not to mention looking pretty damn good! 😉

To try out Fresh City Farms for your slef click the link! AND if you downloaded Bikos as per my last blog post then you will see that you can get a $20 off reward with I believe 30 bikos (30 km of rides)

Click HERE to try it out!

 

PREVENTATIVE: DNA Testing- 23 and me/ UBiome

I had my 23 and me dna testing and my boyfriend had Ubiome this past year. Both are helpful in their own way by allowing you to better understand your genetic make up or gut micro-biome a little better. Knowing these things about yourself can really alter the way you eat or live and we think that knowledge is power, so why not learn more about what makes you, YOU? Some people need to be mindful of predispositions to medical conditions, while others just can’t count on good genes to help them fit into their jeans. We are all Bio-individual. You have to except that your journey man not be as “easy” as others but it can make you a stronger, clearer and healthier person in the end because you know your body in and out.

23 and me: They will send you a kit and by spitting 10x in a tube, 23 and me can tell you things like; what your ancestry background is, if you possess bio-markers for health conditions like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease or Celiac disease. Your genetic weight pre-disposition, if your weight is affected by fat intake, how much caffeine is right for you, and the type of muscle fibres you have. These kinds of details are super helpful and informative. For instance, I am 43% Italian and 17% British/Irish (the other 40% is quite a mix, mostly european),  I absorb caffeine fast which is a good thing (allowing me to have 2-3 cups a day if I wanted), my weight is not affected by eating fats (duh, I eat a half a pound of butter a day) and I have fast twitch muscle fibres which are better for power training (weight lifting and sprinting) rather than long distance training (I loathe running). I also found out I have a gene present that says I may have a marker for celiac disease (a gluten protein intolerance) which I don’t have in that severity but I may take that information further to find out if I have a gluten sensitivity. All of which, have made me think twice about my eating habits, workout routines and what I could pass on to my kids one day. The price is $249.00 CND and you can look at the details any time on their website or download all of your personal info as a PDF. Expect up to 3 months for results to be ready.

Ubiome is a company that samples your fecal matter to see how your gut bacteria is surviving (or not). Scientists have linked good gut bacteria with better weight management, cognitive function, sleep and mood. They call our guts our ” second brain” because it is such a smart, intricate, and vitally important part of the body. The Scientific American.com writes ” This mind-gut connection is not just metaphorical. Our brain and gut are connected by an extensive network of neurons and a highway of chemicals and hormones that constantly provide feedback about how hungry we are, whether or not we’re experiencing stress, or if we’ve ingested a disease-causing microbe. This information superhighway is called the brain-gut axis and it provides constant updates on the state of affairs at your two ends. That sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach after looking at your postholiday credit card bill is a vivid example of the brain-gut connection at work. You’re stressed and your gut knows it—immediately. What about the microbial side? When the microbiota adjusts to a change in diet or to a stress-induced decrease in gut transit time, is the brain made aware of this modification? Does the brain-gut axis run in one direction only, with all signals going from brain to gut, or are some signals going the other way? Is that voice in your head that is asking for a snack coming from your mind or is it emanating from the insatiable masses in your bowels? Recent evidence indicates that not only is our brain “aware” of our gut microbes, but these bacteria can influence our perception of the world and alter our behaviour. It is becoming clear that the influence of our microbiota reaches far beyond the gut to affect an aspect of our biology few would have predicted—our mind.”

From Ubiome, we found out how diverse all of our gut bacteria is. The kinds of food you eat regularly, medications you take, how much alcohol you drink, and stressful world you’re involved in can all have profound effects on your gut micro biome. You can see which strands of bacteria you are low and high in, helping you make better food choices. They list which foods to find certain probiotics (food that contain helpful bacteria) and prebiotic fibres (foods that feed your already existing bacteria). You can check the data online and compare yours other anonymous profiles to see how yours matches up to people who may have better or worse habits than your own. Although helpful, this ratio of bacteria changes and if you make a point of changing your diet you would find it helpful to test again as they recommend but it’s not cheap ($300 a pop) and if you plan on checking up 2-3 times a year that can get expensive. But i’d say if you’re having serious digestive issues like IBS or Crohns disease, tracking this information for a year while you change your diet, stress levels and exercise habits may be super informative.

 

PHYSICAL: EMS (electric muscle stimulation)

a few weeks ago I tried my fist EMS workout, it took me about a week to recover so that’s why it took me so long to review it 😉  Essentially,  they spray you damply, put a suit on you and shock you while you workout.. But don’t that let scare you off! It’s actually fun and not as horrifying as it sounds.  “EMS stands for Electric Muscle Stimulation. Technically, EMS is a total body workout with body current. In this context, it might be helpful to know that our muscles contract through electric impulses (bioelectronics) in normal state. The EMS training makes use of this effect. By employing hardly noticeable external electro impulses, the natural effect is additionally intensified and an effective training can be achieved.” So, how does 20 minutes 2-3 x per week sound? Pretty good, right? How about that fact that you are accessing more than 90% of your muscle fibres and feel like you lifted like Arnold, except all you have to do is some air squats and bicep curls with a 2 pound weight! All the benefits of a long, heavy, sweaty workout except you won’t be putting an increased amount of pressure on the knees or lower back. Sounds almost too good to be true! Here’s why you should try it:

What are the benefits of EMS?

Elite athletes use EMS in addition to their training in order to improve their strength and speed. Physical therapists make use of EMS for joint-sparing muscle formation and for targeted back exercises. Personal trainers, gyms and beauty centers concentrate on the fitness and beauty aspects: body  shaping through muscle formation and catabolism of fat, stimulation of metabolism and tightening of connective tissue.

Why is the EMS training much more effective than conventional weight training?

The EMS full-body workout activates over 90% of the muscles fibres at the same time during each contraction! in a single 20 minute session, you’ll burn 500 calories! As oppose to conventional weight training, deeper muscles are demanded, as well. That enhances intra- and intercellular coordination. Therefore, the training produces an effect much more rapidly and effectively than conventional weight training. The training effect with EMS training can be up 18 times better than with conventional weight training.

Is stimulation current dangerous? 

No. Training or therapy using low-frequency current stimulation is not dangerous. Why? Our muscles work constantly. During this process, small intrinsic electric pulses initiate every movement. During the training with current stimulation, this pulse is simply fortified by the additional pulse from outside. Therefore, the impulse does not seem foreign to the body.

So..  are you ready to shock your body to ripped?

Check me trying it out here: Andy EMS1 Andy EMS2

 

and check out Whole Life Balance to try it for yourself!

We hope you enjoyed your weekly dose of Health Hacks and Fitness Tips.

Check back weekly for more!

AND Don’t forget to download our FREE PPP exercise E-Guide! Free only for a limited time.

Plus if you complete the challenge we have merchandise and trips to BALI to give away! Check it out you won’t be disappointed!

xx

Andy and Brit 

P.O.W # 19 Salt for your Health, Functional Training, Biko App

“3 P’s for Optimal Performance and Health”
The Power of 3..
POTION: Salt

“We cry salt, we sweat salt, and the cells in our bodies are bathed in salty fluids. Without salt we would not be able to live.”

I recently read a booked called The Salt Fix  by Dr. James DiNicolantino. It’s about the myth laid on the public that salt is bad for our health, bad for our hearts, causes high blood pressure and hypertension among other things. After reading the book and experimenting myself, I really can feel the difference of how I perform while training, the ease of muscle soreness and short recovery periods, my booming energy levels and increased hydration.

Excerpt from ” The Salt Fix”:

“Your body drives you to eat several grams of salt (around 8–10 grams, equal to 3,000–4,000 milligrams of sodium) every day to remain in homeostasis, an optimal state in which you put the least amount of stress on the body. But you could literally live the rest of your life—and probably a much longer one—if you never ingested another gram of added sugar.

“We’ve all heard the recommendation: eat no more than a teaspoon of salt a day for a healthy heart. But there’s one big problem with this: the vast majority of us don’t need to eat low-salt diets. In fact, for most of us, more salt would be better for our health, rather than less. (Not to mention, much tastier.) Now, Dr. James DiNicolantonio reveals the incredible, often baffling story of how salt became unfairly demonized—a never-before-told, century-spanning drama of competing egos and interests. Not only have we gotten it wrong, we’ve gotten it exactly backwards: eating more salt can help protect you from a host of ailments, including internal starvation, insulin resistance, diabetes, and even heart disease. (The real culprit? Another white crystal—sugar.)”

Some of my big take-aways from the book:

Salt Wasters

The recommendation of  a little over 1 teaspoon of salt per day (2,000 mg/ 5 grams) increases exponentially with every coffee or caffeinated drink you have, how active you are or they type of medication you may be on. For Example, if you have a coffee in the morning and a coffee in the afternoon, you will have depleted 2 whole teaspoons of salt from your body. If you workout daily or use saunas you’re loosing another teaspoon of salt every time you sweat. Also, are you drinking the recommended 2-3 litres of water per day? Then you’ll need even more salt.

Tips in increase salt if you use these salt wasters:

  • In the morning after coffee, have half a teaspoon of salt washed down with filtered water ( I even add a pinch of salt to my coffee to bring out the flavours even more )
  • Before a heavy work out have a half to a full teaspoon of salt and half a teaspoon for every half hour after during your workout to feel super energized and powerful. ( It’s actually amazing how well this works. No need for expensive, sugar laden Gatorade for electrolytes!)
  • Take salt like a medicine for an afternoon pick up. Half a teaspoon of salt after your mid day caffeinated drink. ( I carry a little bottle of Redmonds Real Salt with me every where and knock it back like I used to knock back tequila when I was 20. Shots for fit people! )
  • Ask your Doctor if any medication that you’re on has a diuretic effect (depletes water/salt from your body )**

** Before adding more salt to your diet (especially if you’re on medication) ask your doctor to test your salt levels. Remembering their recommendation of salt in take will be the standard 1 and 1/3 teaspoons of salt per day.

Salt Myths

Salt causes high blood pressure

Excerpt from “The Salt Fix”:

“When we eat salt, so the theory goes, we also get thirsty—so we drink more water. In the salt–high blood pressure hypothesis, that excess salt then causes the body to hold on to that increased water, in order to dilute the saltiness of the blood. Then, the resulting increased blood volume would automatically lead to higher blood pressure. That’s the theory, anyway. Makes sense, right? But evidence in the medical literature suggests that approximately 80 percent of people with normal blood pressure (less than 120/80 mmHg) are not sensitive to the blood-pressure-raising effects of salt at all. Among those with prehypertension (a precursor to high blood pressure), roughly 75 percent are not sensitive to salt. And even among those with full-blown hypertension, about 55 percent are totally immune to salt’s effects on blood pressure”

Instead, we focused on those extremely minuscule reductions in blood pressure, completely disregarding the numerous other health risks caused by low salt intake—including several side effects that actually magnify our risk of heart disease—such as increased heart rate; compromised kidney function and adrenal insufficiency; hypothyroidism; higher triglyceride, cholesterol, and insulin levels; and, ultimately, insulin resistance, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.

Recent research even suggests that chronic salt depletion may be a factor in what endocrinologists term “internal starvation.” When you start restricting your salt intake, the body starts to panic. One of the body’s defence mechanisms is to increase insulin levels, because insulin helps the kidneys retain more sodium. Unfortunately, high insulin levels also “lock” energy into your fat cells, so that you have trouble breaking down stored fat into fatty acids or stored protein into amino acids for energy. When your insulin levels are elevated, the only macronutrient that you can efficiently utilize for energy is carbohydrate. See where this is headed? You start craving sugar and refined carbs like crazy, because your body believes carbohydrate is your only viable energy source. And, as the now-familiar story goes, the more refined carbs you eat, the more refined carbs you tend to crave. This overeating of processed carbs and high-sugar foods virtually ensures fat cell accumulation, weight gain, insulin resistance, and eventually type 2 diabetes. ”

Salt and the Kidneys

“Research has shown that patients with normal blood pressure and kidney function can easily excrete ten times as much salt as we normally consume in a day. The reason why humans cannot solely live on seawater is not that our kidneys cannot handle excreting the high salt content—it’s that in order to do so, water must leave with it, which would eventually cause dehydration (and eventual death!). But if we had enough access to freshwater to replace what is lost during the excretion of that salt, humans would absolutely be able to drink seawater.

Salt for Hypothyroidism

I’m sure that you or someone you know is effected by Hypo/hyperthyriodism. It is incredibly common today, effecting men and women and their hormone production. All hormones are linked so If your thyroid, adrenals or sex hormones are off, you’ve kicked one of the three legs out from underneath your hormonal stool. Iodized salt is a man-made addition to salt to prevent iodine deficiency and Iodine plays an active role in promoting healthy thyroid hormone function. “Worldwide, iodine deficiency affects about two billion people and is the leading preventable cause of intellectual and developmental disabilities.[1][2] Deficiency also causes thyroid gland problems, including “endemic goitre“. In many countries, iodine deficiency is a major public health problem that can be cheaply addressed by purposely adding small amounts of iodine to the sodium chloride salt. If you lower your salt intake and have thyroid issues this can exacerbate your symptoms.

The right kind of Salt 

Different types of salt contain various types of minerals. Not all salt is created equal.

Table salt although iodized, could be bleached, contain anti-caking agents to prevent it from getting stuck together, and even dextrose (sugar) as a filler!

The Best on the market:

Redmonds Real Salt:

“According to geologists, the Redmond salt deposit is the remnant of an ancient inland sea, probably part of what they call the Sundance Sea, which places the deposit within the Jurassic Period. Over time, the salt that settled at the bottom of the sea was trapped within the earth and then pushed up near the surface close to the town of Redmond, Utah.

The deposit occurs with over 70+ natural trace minerals which gives the salt its unique color, unique flavor, and numerous health benefits.  Because this deposit comes from an ancient sea bed, nature created the salt long before the earth experienced anthropogenic pollution and contaminants that are troubling our oceans today.”

Himalayan Salt:

Himalayan crystal salt comes from salt mines 5,000 feet deep below the Himalayan Mountain Range. The salt from these mines has experienced tremendous pressure over millions of years and is said to be over 99 percent pure and contains high amounts of potassium and many other trace minerals but no iodine unless added.*

*Keep in mind if you’re using this salt before or after workouts or have a thyroid condition as iodine depletion is much higher in those who workout regularly or have thyroid dysfunction.

(Watch out for labels that just say Pink Salt, it could just be died sea salt!)

Celtic Sea Salt (grey salt) :

Celtic sea salt is comparable to Himalayan crystal salt in its composition and health benefits, but it’s a completely different salt that comes from a different source (Brittany, France).

Sea water contains minerals such as sodium, magnesium, calcium, potassium, plus many trace elements such as iron, zinc, and manganese. The human body uses the minerals & trace elements in sea salt to create electrolytes, maintaining the ‘œinternal ocean’ which is vital to the proper functioning of every system in the body.

Regular Sea Salt:

Because some brands do not state where they gather their salt from keep in mind some of our oceans aren’t the cleanest anymore! But likely most sea salts are better than table salt!

In general, salt is essential for maintaining healthy functioning of the body’s cells, nerve conduction, digestion, as well as the absorption of nutrients and the elimination of waste products. So, Pass the Salt!

  Get  a copy Here  

 

 

PHYSICAL: Functional Training

Whether you’re trying to lose weight, build strength or endurance, Functional training has it all. By challenging the body in areas of balance and sometimes unilateral resistance ( 1 limb being used at a time) you can achieve a full body workout by recruiting other muscles to work and stabilize. Instead of plain old squats, why not try Kettle bell swings, box jumps, or weighted squats on an upside down Bosu-Ball. Instead of bicep curls, utilize the entire arm while whipping the battle ropes, or picking up medicine balls and then slamming them down (super fun to just throw sh*t around actually!). Each functional variation requires the core to be fully engaged because balance is a huge factor for each movement. It also requires more speed/more repetitions to bring your heart rate up and burn more fat. We’re not against heavy lifting ( actually we encourage it for EVERYONE) but we do believe it’s better to break up your workouts with endurance training and challenge the body to work in different ranges of motion. We think more holistically when it comes to working out. Core stability and balance are areas of concern and harder to maintain as we age so why not get a head start?!

Try F45 (Functional 45) Training. They have studios popping up all over Toronto. You sign up for classes with their easy to use app. In and out in 45 mins, sweat like crazy, and feel a great pump!

and of course come check out our 12pm Saturday class at Whole Life Balance if you haven’t already! The reason why we started Pulse Pump Prana was because of it’s super functional order of Pilates, HIIT and Yoga 🙂

 

   

 

PRACTICAL: Biko App

We downloaded the Biko App on our smart phones this summer, which tracks your distance travelled ( via GPS not data), it helps plan the easiest route for bikers and the best spots to lock up. In an effort to reduce C02 emissions, Biko rewards you for riding your bike everyday!  The rewards range from discounts on Yoga gear, coffees, smoothies, juices, beer, spa services, bike repairs and even discounts on Zipcar. Participating companies include; Jimmy’s coffee, Fresh, Foodoora, Carnivore Club, BGood, Big Rock Brewery,BYoga Urbane Cyclist, Sweet Pete’s and 2 Wheel Gear. You can also add friends and see who has the most points racked up! It’s a great way to stay active and earn for being healthy and cleaning our air 🙂

Download Biko in the App Store

We hope you enjoyed your weekly dose of Health Hacks and Fitness Tips.

Check back weekly for more!

AND Don’t forget to download our FREE PPP exercise E-Guide! Free only for a limited time.

Plus if you complete the challenge we have merchandise and trips to BALI to give away! Check it out you won’t be disappointed!

xx

Andy and Brit 

 

 

 

POW # 18- Farmers markets, Infrared saunas and Healthy popcorn

3 P’s for Optimal Perfomance and Health! 

 The Power of 3…  

PRACTICAL:  Farmers markets – Buying local and organic

Do you shop at your local farmers market? If you do, fantastic! and if you don’t, heres why you should 😉

  • The food is as fresh as you can get it outside of growing it yourself.
  • All fruits and veggies at local farmers markets should be Organic and non-GMO. That being said, speak to your local farmers, get to know them and ask about their farming practices. And yes, organic food can be expensive but it is our health that is most important. Check out this list of fruits and veggies called The “Dirty Dozen” and “The Clean 15”. This list refers to the fruits and vegetables that are the most and least contaminated by pesticide use. Let this guide help you with what to buy organic vs non-organic.
  • The Dirty Dozen (in order of highest contamination)
  • Apples
  • Celery
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Peaches
  • Strawberries
  • Nectarines
  • Grapes
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Cucumbers
  • Blueberries
  • Potato
  • The Clean 15 (in order of least contamination)
  • Onions
  • Sweet Corn
  • Pineapples
  • Avocado
  • Cabbage
  • Sweet peas
  • Asparagus
  • Mangoes
  • Eggplant
  • Kiwi
  • Cantaloupe
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Grapefruit
  • Watermelon
  • Mushrooms

Remember, the process is gradual. Change takes time and all of us have to work within our budgets.

EAT YOUR VEG! – Support Local Farms

  • Vibrant colours in fruits and veggies are a reflection of the nutrients they contain.
  • Ethical Industrialized farming has become the norm. Industrial farming (both conventional and organic) is hard on the land, and utilizes environmentally unfriendly practices that are not sustainable over the long-term.
  • Support small businesses and families.
  • Eco-friendlyReducing the use of fossil fuels through less waste in the form of carbon monoxide, pesticide use and chemical fertilizers.
  • Invest in you and your families health.
  • Reduce your carbon footprint (the average meal travels 1200 km from the farm to plate. Food that is grown closer to home will therefore have fewer transportation emissions associated with it.

I absolutely love going to our local farmers market because you get to know your community better and its a great way to spend a Sunday morning.

Check out these lists of farmers markets that you can hit up ALL throughout the week in Toronto. Now you’ll have no excuse not to check them out 🙂

http://www.blogto.com/eat_drink/2014/06/farmers_markets_in_toronto_by_day_of_the_week/

http://www.blogto.com/toronto/the_best_farmers_markets_in_toronto/

 

                     

 

PROP: Infrared Sauna

Historically, heat treatments have been used to help heal the body for thousands of years. “Hot air baths” and sweat lodges were used for busting stress, increasing relaxation and detoxification among Native Americans, Eastern Europeans and in Ancient Chinese Medicine.- Dr Axe

What is an Infrared sauna?

A type of sauna that uses heat and light to help relax and detoxify the body.

Whats the difference between a regular sauna and an infrared sauna?

They differ from “regular saunas” because their light directly penetrates your skin but does not warm the air around you. — which is why most can stay in an infrared sauna longer than a regular sauna.

Do Infrared saunas really work?

There is still research being done on the long term effects but as of right now they seem to be safe.

There has been research and testing done proving that infrared saunas do in fact help many people reduce blood pressure and increase exercise tolerance- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16105634

There have also been tests done on improving cardiovascular healing- http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S073510970101467X

Cost

The average price for a 45 minute- 1 hour session is $50 Canadian Dollars.

Benefits of Infrared saunas

  • Pain reduction
  • Relaxation
  • Anti-aging effects
  • Increased detoxification
  • Joint and muscle support
  • Inflammation lowering effect
  • Boosts metabolism

So, our advice to you is try it out for yourself and see how it makes you feel 🙂

POTION: Healthy Popcorn

We absolutely LOVE popcorn as a healthy snack.  It’s high in fibre, low in carbs per cup popped and you can flavour any way you like! However, if you’re buying microwave or movie theatre popcorn that’s a different story. Microwave and Theatre popcorn use genetically modified corn, refined vegetable oils (margarine), refined sugars and preservatives. YUCK!  The type of popcorn you want to get is the organic, non GMO kernels that you can pop on the stove yourself. It takes a little bit more time to make ( 2-3 extra mins compared to bagged popcorn) but it is much healthier and the way we make it, MUCH tastier!  You can go to any health store and find this type of popcorn in the bulk section or buy in bulk on Amazon.ca . Once you’ve got your popcorn you will also need to purchase some Coconut oil / Ghee/olive oil, himalayan salt and nutritional yeast. We like to buy our coconut oil from Costco because you can get a massive 2.3 L tub of it (organic) for only 27 bucks! It’s a steal. Himalayan salt and Nutritional yeast will also be at your local health food store.

What is Nutritional Yeast?

Nutritional yeast is a unique vegetarian food with pleasantly cheesy flavor and a powerful nutritional punch! It is rich in B vitamins, including B12, and provides 8 grams of protein per serving. For a rich umami flavor, add nutritional yeast to sauces, scrambles, kale chips, crackers and biscuits. To boost nutrition and please your taste buds, sprinkle over vegetables, baked potatoes or popcorn. *Vegan and gluten free.

Instructions

1. Get a large pot with a lid and put 1 Tbsp of coconut oil inside with 3 single kernels. Turn the heat on high and keep a close watch on the kernels to pop.

2. Once those kernels have popped, remove the pot from the burner and take the three pieces of popcorn out of the pot.

3. Wait about 30 seconds before putting the rest of the kernels in that you would like to make and add some more coconut oil if you need to.

4. Once the 30 seconds is up put the pot back on the burner and bring the heat down to a low/ medium with the lid on.

5. Wait for all the kernels to pop and when they are done remove the pot and pour the popcorn into a large bowl.

6. Pour 1- 2 tablespoons of coconut oil back into the empty pot to melt it and then pour it all of the popcorn. ( Can also use Melted Ghee, Grass-fed butter, Olive oil, Avocado oil, or Truffle Olive oil )  

7. Sprinkle on a couple tablespoons of your nutritional yeast and a couple pinches of himalayan salt.

Spicy Nacho: Nutritional yeast, Coconut oil or Ghee, Cayenne powder, Cumin powder, Paprika, Onion and Garlic powder, Salt

Spicy Sweet: Cayenne pepper, Cinnamon, Coconut oil, Salt

Cheesy Dill: Nutritional Yeast, Ghee or Coconut oil, Onion powder, Dried Dill , Salt

Truffle Parm: Truffle Olive oil, onion powder, Nutritional yeast, ( or high quality organic parmesan), Salt .

Salted Peanut butter Chocolate: Melt half a bar of Dark chocolate with a table spoon of coconut oil. After melted, stir in 1 table spoon organic peanut butter, 1 table spoon of maple syrup, half a tea spoon of salt and melt over popcorn. Put in the fridge for 30 min. 

VOILA! Healthy popcorn complete!

 

We hope you enjoyed your weekly dose of Health Hacks and Fitness Tips.

Check back weekly for more!

AND Don’t forget to download our FREE PPP exercise E-Guide! Free only for a limited time.

Plus if you complete the challenge we have merchandise and trips to BALI to give away! Check it out you won’t be disappointed!

xx

Andy and Brit 

POW # 16 – German Volume Training, Nature and The Vitamix

3 P’s for Optimal Perfomance and Health! 

 

The Power of 3…

 

PHYSICAL : German Volume Training

What is German Volume Training? GVC is a program to do if you are looking for rapid size gains. Usually this would involve lower reps (about 8 or lower) and for many this works great. Whereas, many high rep programs are geared more towards conditioning and fat loss.

But then, there’s German Volume Training, also known as the 10 set method. “This method was, to the best of my knowledge, popularized by Rolf Feser, the German National Weightlifting Coach of that time, and was quite popular in weightlifting circles as a method to gain weight, often causing athletes to move up one full weight class in only 12 weeks.”- Charles Poliquin

The standard protocol for German Volume Training (GVT), consists of choosing a large movement for a given muscle group (Legs-back squats) followed by another movement from the same muscle group (Legs-hamstring curls) and performing 10 sets of 10 reps with 90 seconds between sets.

Now, for most this is a 12 week program (for those looking for massive gains) but I did it for 7 weeks knowing that I would like to put on mass but not 12 weeks worth of it. When I finished this program I went straight into two weeks of HIIT ( high intensity interval training) strength and strength and endurance classes. Im still in this phase and will move on to another one shortly. I will keep you posted with my results!

GVC can be incorporate in a number of ways but this is what my 7 weeks looked like:

(Remember, you want to choose your weight carefully. A good weight to start with is 60 % of your 1RM so if your back squat 1 RM is 175lbs  you would start with 105 lbs. I know this seems light but trust me, its going to get heavy real fast. If you can get through all 10 sets hitting 10 reps each time then its time to bump up your weight.) 

 

Day 1/5- Chest and Back

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Tempo

Rest

A1

Flat DB bench press

10

10

4020

90

A2

Negatives/pull downs

10

10

4020

90

B1

Incline Flies

3

10-12

2020

75

B2

SA DB row

3

10-12

2020

75

 Day 2/5- Legs and Abs

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Tempo

Rest

A1

Back Squats

10

10

40X0

90

A2

Hamstring curls

10

8

40X0

90

B1

Hanging leg raises

3

10

2020

75

B2

Seated Calf Raise

3

10-12

2020

75

Day 3/5 OFF (Rest)

Day 4/5- Arms and Shoulders

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Tempo

Rest

A1

Bicep curls

10

10

40X0

90

A2

Tricep dips

10

10

40X0

90

B1

Standing lateral raises

3

10-12

2011

75

B2

Bent over lateral raises

3

10-12

40X0

75

 Day 5/5 OFF (Rest)

Back to Day 1

German volume training is not for everybody but its effectiveness is indisputable. If you are doing this program on your own I’m not going to lie to you, its tough to push through! The first 4 sets I found were the hardest and come the 8th set you actually start to feel stronger due to neurological adaptions. My advice to you is to always listen to your body. Do not go up in weight if you did not get through all 10 sets. When you have, that is the time to move on and you can push through even when you start to feel tired. There will be days that are much harder than others but you will get though it and you will be damn proud of yourself! Nothing easy is ever worth it. Not only did I put on mass but I saw strength gains as well and I’m very happy with my progress thus far.

“Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.” Napoleon Hill

                                        

 PRESENT: Nature

Imagine this, it’s 6am on a Sunday morning and your alarm clock goes off. You roll out of bed, whip up a Natural PB and banana sandwich (yes please), brew up some coffee and you’re out the door. I know, I know, you’re probably thinking, “Why the hell would I be up at 6 am on a Sunday morning?” But let me ask you, why the hell not!? We’re always searching for more hours in the day when really we could create them for ourselves. We can choose to embrace every moment of our big, beautiful lives and thats exactly what I did on Sunday morning. I walked outside and it was pretty brisk for a summer morning so my coffee was tasting extra good. I went down to the beach with a friend and we rented paddle boards. We dipped our feet in the water as we went to hop on the boards (MY GOD, it was FREEZING!). I’ve never hopped on a board so fast before. However, we forgot about how cold the water was really fast as we paddled on. The energy on the lake was so calm, so still, so serene. It was crystal clear and we could see right to the bottom. As we began to paddle out the sun was rising ever so slowly and it was absolutely epic. The sun was glistening off the water over the horizon and I thought to myself, “Thank god I’m not in bed right now”

Whenever I start to have feelings of anxiety, worry, anger, frustration, sadness, etc. The solution I always come back to is to get outside. My thoughts just seem to disappear and it’s just me, in the moment with my breath.

My advice to you, whether it is paddle boarding, walking, hiking, kayaking or anything really that gets you outside is to spend more time with nature, with your shoes off and away from social media (of course you can take some pictures) but really, find yourself there. Find yourself in that present moment. It will truly give you feelings of euphoria. I’m sure you will want to get up a little earlier every morning and really start to embrace you day. Really start to LIVE your LIFE

   

 

PRACTICAL : Vitamix

We just purchased the vitamix about a month ago and we absolutely love it. Don’t get me wrong, our last blender was good. We had the Ninja and it cost us about 100 bucks. It definitely did what we needed it to do, which was make smoothies. Now, not only can we make smoothies we can make ice cream, hot soups, sauces, hummus, dips and sauces. Whether you are creative with trying/ making new things the vitamix is a must-have. You can do so much with it. I don’t know of any other blenders that can make soup and blend it so fast that it heats up the soup for you. You will no longer have to chew your smoothies and you will have a variety of new sauces to make your meals new and different every time!  Eating breakfasts, lunches and dinners just got a whole lot more exciting!

Is it worth the price?

I paid a little over $400 for my Vitamix and if it lasts me 15 years, it will cost me $26 a year, which seems very reasonable.

A $40 blender replaced every three years would cost me $13 a year

A $100 blender replaced every five years would cost $20 (which is almost the same as the Vitamix)

So, yes,  INVEST in the vitamix… Its totally worth it!

Recipes to try

Ice cream- Banana Chocolate Peanut Butter

1 frozen banana

1 Tbsp of nut butter

1 Tbsp of cacao

1 Tbsp of coconut oil

Toppings

1 Tsp of chia seeds

1 Tsp of hemp hearts

1 tbsp of pecans

Place banana and nut butter in blender. Give it a little bit of time and if it isn’t blending up for you (it definitely should if you are using the vitamix) then you can add a tiny bit of almond milk. I like to add a pinch of himalayan salt and cinnamon to my blend. While this is blending take a tbsp of coconut oil and a tbsp of cacao and heat it up in a sauce pan for a minute. Once your ice cream is all whipped up, pour it into your bowl and pour your chocolate sauce on top. Add any extra toppings you like:)

Soup – Beet soup

Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion (yellow)
2 medium beets
½ cup water + more
salt to taste (¼ tsp or more

Makes ~3 cups: 2 large servings or 4 medium.

Peel and chop the onion and beets (½” by ½” sticks is good for the beets) Add oil to pan, sauté onions on medium-high heat for ~1 minute, then add beets and no more than half a cup of water to soften the beets.  Reduce heat and cook 3 minutes

Allow to cool for at least 5 minutes, then transfer to blender. If you want a really thick soup, you don’t have to add any more water. Blend on high until smooth. Himalayan salt to taste, serve, garnish, and enjoy!

We hope you enjoyed your weekly dose of Health Hacks and Fitness Tips.

Check back weekly for more!

AND Don’t forget to download our FREE PPP exercise E-Guide! Free only for a limited time.

Plus if you complete the challenge we have merchandise and trips to BALI to give away! Check it out you won’t be disappointed!

xx

Andy and Brit 

P.O.W #15 Crystals, Himalayan Salt Lamps, Reverse Plank

3 P’s for Optimal Perfomace and Health! 

The Power of 3…

PRANA: Gemstones and Crystals

For those of you who don’t know, “Prana” is the word for energy in Sanskrit ( an ancient language from India). Energy is the essence of everything.  If you were cut us open you’d find muscles and organs. Dissect them and you’ll find trillions of cells. Split a cell and you’ll find an atom. Split an atom and you’ll find energy. From the chair you sit in, the phone you hold, the food you eat or the clothes you wear, these things are all made up of little vibrating energy cells. Scientists say, you cannot create nor destroy energy. It’s ever flowing and passing through forms. Some energies are negatively charged, some are positively charged and we need a balance of both.

We have always loved the look of crystals but some believe they carry certain energies and healing powers. We recently have been making our own mala necklaces. Choosing the beads we like can also have an energetic connection to the things we need in our lives at that moment.

Learn more about crystals and their meanings here 

 

PROP: Himalayan Salt Lamps

On the topic of energy sometimes we are unbalance with positive ions ( sounds good but not in this case!) Naturally Living Ideas.com writes ” Nowadays, most of us are living in a metaphorical ocean of electromagnetic (EM) radiation which flows from our electronics (ie: television, computer, cell phone, tablet, appliances, sterio, etc). While they may be invisible, the long-term effects of EM exposure can be quite serious. Constant exposure to EM radiation is known to increase stress levels, cause chronic fatigue, and decrease the body’s immune response, among other things.

As they emit negative ions into the air, Himalayan salt lamps work to neutralize electromagnetic radiation. Keep one next to the computer, television, and any other electrical devices which you use frequently to reduce the potential danger to you and your family.

So while they bring your ionic energy back into balance you your self are more energetic!

 ” Taking a drive through the countryside with the windows down, spending time at the beach or camping in the mountains, or simply taking a shower first thing in the morning are all things that many people find invigorating. It’s not a coincidence that these are all activities which expose us to increased concentrations of negative ions such as those generated by Himalayan salt lamps. The fact is, positive ions sap our bodies of energy. Unfortunately, it’s all too common for us to try to diagnose the problem as something else entirely.”

Try and spend some time walking barefoot on the earth or sand daily. Work outside when you can or keep a few salt lamps in your work room and bedroom to better your energy and sleep quality!

 

PHYSICAL: Reverse Plank (hover and swing)

This exercise is great for building lower abdominal strength, hamstrings. glutes and shoulders! If you’re practicing some more difficult yoga poses, building core strength for handstand presses or just want to challenge your self give this Pilates classic a try!

  • Start in reverse plank with knees bent
  • Slowly lower you bum and lift your toes up to the ceiling
  • Scoot your bum back in-between your arms or blocks never letting the bum touch the ground pressing though the heels keeping lower abdominals on, hammies and gluts to keep the legs engaged .
  • Squeeze your bum and push through to go back to the starting position.
  • Complete 10 repetitions !

How to videoReverse Plank hover and swing

 
We hope you enjoyed your weekly dose of Health Hacks and Fitness Tips.

Check back weekly for more!

AND Don’t forget to download our FREE PPP exercise E-Guide! Free only for a limited time.

Plus if you complete the challenge we have merchandise and trips to BALI to give away! Check it out you won’t be disappointed! 

xx

Andy and Brit 

P.O.W # 14 Weight training, Gluten, Bulletproof coffee

“3 P’s for Optimal Performance and Health

PHYSICAL: Weight Training 

Certainly, we’ve all experienced going into a packed gym, listening to a bunch of “meat heads” howling out and dropping barbells all over the place. Does this make you a tad apprehensive to start weight training? Or perhaps you’re also intimidated with all of the different kinds of machines and setup required? These are all totally understandable reasons for anxiety around weight training but don’t let that stop you from trying! The science shows that weight training not only helps get you into better shape it’s the only type of exercise known to slow or reverse all 10 biomarkers of aging! We suggest to ask a friend to be a “gym buddy”, consult a with a gym/personal trainer or do some of your own research on some easily integratabtle exercises for your next gym visit. Get off the treadmill and try it out, you will not be disappointed!

10 Anti-Aging Biomarkers

– blood lipids (mainly fatty acids and cholesterol)
– strength mass
– muscle mass
– bone density
– blood glucose control
– body composition
– cardiorespiratory fitness
– aerobic capacity
– blood pressure
– gene expression

Who wouldn’t want to jump on this anti-aging phenomena? Science has proven that the average person can add seven healthy years to their life through weight training! You can even change the hormonal and chemical levels in your body, slow down/prevent diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and chronic pain.
Strength training is also one of the most effective ways to regain insulin and leptin sensitivity while reversing insulin and leptin resistance.

Leptin: is a hormone produced in your fat cells. Its primary role is to regulate your appetite and body weight. It tells your brain when to eat, how much to eat and most importantly when to stop eating. The Leptin hormone is also responsible for speeding up or slowing down your metabolism.

Insulin: Sugars and grains raise your blood sugar. When this happens insulin is released to direct the extra energy into storage. Only a small amount is stored as a polysaccharide called glycogen, but the majority is stored as your main energy storage supply—fat. Insulin’s major role is not to lower your blood sugar but rather to store the extra energy for future times of need. Insulin’s effect of lowering your blood sugar is merely a “side effect” of this energy storage process.

Insulin resistance: Insulin resistance occurs when your body becomes resistant to the hormone insulin. Any time a cell is exposed to insulin it’s going to become more insulin resistant. If you eat too many sugars or grains it provokes insulin surges. When your body is exposed to excess insulin,  it no longer responds to it properly and becomes insulin resistant.

An article in Forbes magazine highlighted the benefits of strength training for the aging population.

“The average 30-35 year old person will experience roughly a 25 percent decline in his or her muscle strength and tone by the age of 70-75, and up to a 50 percent decline approaching the age of 90.”

We don’t need to take pharmaceutical drugs to improve our bone density or find that magic pill/cream to decrease the rate at which we age. We just need to move daily and nourish our bodies with healthy, whole foods. Pharmaceutical drugs mask our issues causing long term effects, while weight training is one of the solutions to lasting longevity and vitality!

Happy lifting!!!

 

POISON: Gluten 

Sometimes we talk about the best supplements out there for you, but the best supplements in the world can’t reverse all of the negative effects from your daily diet. If you have food sensitivities and ignore the signs, you may be feeling fatigued, inflamed, or struggle losing weight even if the supposed food is coming from organic/clean sources. We may not always show an anaphylactic response to foods we’re allergic or slightly to. One of the most common sensitivities today is of course; Gluten.

What is Gluten? 

A storage protein found in wheat, barley, rye and most oats

Problematic for people with:

-celiac disease
-gluten sensitivity

Celiac disease is the most extreme reactions to gluten and effects about 1 % of the population. It is an auto-immune disease (when the body attacks it’s own immune system/cells). The tiniest crumb of gluten can have a damaging effect on your system when you have Celiac disease. Inside the small intestine there are little hairs called “Villi” and when we have gluten (and are sensitive to it) the Villi slowly will get eroded away causing nutrients and undigested food to pass through the intestinal walls, potentially leading to leaky gut syndrome.  You can be eating a healthy diet,  but if your small intestine isn’t performing optimally you won’t absorb the nutrients you intake.

Symptoms of Celiac Disease include:

– stomach pain
– diarrhea
– gas
– bloating

Long term Health risks:

– anemia
– infertility
– cancer
– other auto immune diseases


Testing for Celiac Disease


– blood test is about 95% accurate
– biosy to confirm
– must be eating gluten

What is gluten Sensitivity?

Gluten sensitive people are those who don’t have celiac but still show some symptoms of irritation and inflammation after consuming Gluten. These types of people also show an improvement when they take gluten out of their diet.


Gluten sensitivity often effects people with:

– irritable bowel syndrome
– neuropathy (nerve pains or numbness)
– autoimmune disease ( MS, Chrohns, Type 1 diabetes, etc)
– Inflammation

There have been studies on those with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome),  Type 1 Diabetes, Chrohns and Arthritis, that have shown improvement when gluten is taken out of their diet.


Gluten sensitivity test 

– gluten free trial for 2-3 months
–  important to test for celiac first

However, going gluten free for some is a lifelong decision, getting a concrete diagnosis can be very powerful and then it’s harder to justify cheating when there are significant long term risks involved.

The biggest question is; is a gluten-free diet healthy? Well, that all depends on what you are putting into your body. It can be extremely healthy but it could also be extremely unhealthy. 
Gluten-free foods are usually not enriched (meaning they are lacking in nutrients) and they are often higher in sugar.  So, those Gluten-free brownies aren’t a nutritious option for breakfast, sorry!

Eating gluten-free doesn’t have to be hard, you just need to eat whole, real foods! ( Unpackaged, unrefined and unprocessed) If you are eating a balanced diet then it is definitely okay to treat yourself to gluten-free treats from time to time. I mean, come on we’re all human! Just be aware of what you are putting into your body on a daily basis and read your labels.

Label reading (all of these have gluten in them)

– Wheat is labeled
– Barley (containing gluten) is found on the label under:
– malt
– malt flavouring
– malt vinegar
– beer
– brewers yeast

Cutting back on gluten basically means eating less PROCESSED foods and this is good for everybody! Whether you have celiac disease, a gluten sensitivity or nothing at all! The more whole foods, the better!

Whole food that are naturally gluten-free

– fruits
– vegetables
– nuts and seeds
– beans
– most dairy
– eggs
– fish, poultry, meat
– herbs
– rice, wild rice
– sweet potato

When I’m trying to cut back on something that isn’t benefitting me one of my favourite Philosophies to live by is to “CROWD OUT!”

You don’t need to quit everything all at once, as this may back fire on you. Instead, start by eating more whole foods, drinking more water and slowly they will start to “Crowd out” the Not-So-Good-Stuff. Take it one day at a time!

Do your own research as well and if you feel that you have some of these symptoms that I have spoken about, then go see your health care practitioner.

In the end, it’s all about feeling good!

POTION: Coffee (Bulletproof)

I don’t know about you guys but we absolutely LOVE our morning coffee! Sipping that warm cupp’a joe in the morning. Mmm absolute bliss!

Health Benefits

  • Alertness
  • Caffeine has been shown to to improve mental performance, even in low doses.
  • Mood
  • Some people say they feel happier, more energetic and sociable 
  • Boost metabolism
  • Performance

Bulletproof Coffee is coffee with two tablespoons of grass-fed butter or Ghee and a tablespoon of MCT oil ( Medium chain triglyceride oil).

The healthy fats from the grass-fed butter and Brain Octane Oil give you a stable current of energy that sustains you throughout the day.

The Brain Octane Oil (which is derived from coconut oil)  also serves to increase ketone production (Ketones are the result of the body burning fat for energy or fuel instead of carbohydrates – we will speak more about this more on another P.O.W) and boosts your metabolic rate by up to 12 %

Drink as much Bulletproof Coffee as you like in the morning.  However, we just suggest no coffee after 2:00 PM or you might not sleep!

As a Vegan option, we use Cocoa butter  or Coconut Butter instead of the grass-fed butter. You will still get a lot of healthy fats plus the brain octane keeps you going for hours.

If you are not a coffee lover or looking to go caffeine-free like the two of us then here are some recipes to help give you a morning or mid afternoon kick!

Vanilla Rooibos Tea

Ingredients

  • Rooibos tea – 2 table spoons of loose tea or 2 bags
  • Half a teaspoon Vanilla extract ( or use vanilla flavoured rooibos)
  • 1/4 cup Full fat ( min 60%) Coconut milk or 2 tablespoons grass-fed butter or Almond Milk
  • 1 teasp -1 tblsp of MCT or Coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon Stevia or Vanilla Flavoured Stevia Drops ( 5 drops )
  • 1 tablespoon Grass-fed Collegen powder ( optional )

Instructions

  1. Brew and steep your tea for about 5 min
  2. In a blender combine all ingredients and pulse until mixed!

You can use any tea you like for this (Chai, Matcha Green tea)

Turmeric Latte

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk
  • 1 heaping tablespoon fresh turmeric root, grated
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root (or 1 teaspoon ground)
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil Raw honey or sweetener of choice to taste
  • Pinch of black pepper (optional)Instructions

Instructions

  • Gently warm a cup of almond or coconut milk in a small saucepan.
  • Do not boil.
  • Add turmeric, ginger and cinnamon
  • Combine the coconut oil with the mixture
  • Gently heat together until melted.

We hope you enjoyed your weekly dose of Health Hacks and Fitness Tips.

Check back weekly for more!

xx

Amanda and Brit 

 

P.O.W # 13 Acro Yoga, Activated Charcoal, Cacao Ceremonies

“3 P’s for Optimal Performance and Health

PHYSICAL: Acro Yoga 

This Past week Brit and I taught our beloved PULSE PUMP PRANA workout in Negril, Jamaica at the TMRW TDAY Culture fest. It was an amazing week filled with yoga, fitness, meditation, health talks, music, dancing, food and beautiful Jamaican sunshine. One of our highlights was learning Acro Yoga from The Acro Buddahs (Miranda and Ryan from Toronto). Not surprisingly, Arco Yoga combines acrobatics and yoga. Brit and I both had our significant others accompany us on the trip which was something we all looked forward to. After our first session with the Acro Buddhas, we were hooked and continued our practice on the beach each day. We learned a lot from helping each other as couples while spotting and were pushed to take our trust as partners to a new level. The “Base” (the person on the bottom) has to keep the “Flyer” in alignment and feeling safe. Sometimes we get turned around, up side down and maneuvered all over so it’s immensely important to keep communication up all the times. If not.. you may fall but we sometimes need to fall to find our boundaries and limitations. The frustration that comes along with many failed attempts can have you and your partner feeling impatient and annoyed (so hilarious looking at the bickering in some of our video footage!) However, when you achieve a flow with your partner it feels so incredible and harmonious, as if you’re talking through your bodies on another plane. The sense of accomplishment as a couple is extremely rewarding.  You feel you can achieve anything together.  You learn how to communicate better, without playing the blame game since this practice is never solely one persons issue/fault alone.

Miranda and Ryan were fantastic teachers and their passion for teaching this practice together and spreading the knowledge they have to others was clear. Even on their “off time” they were helping us out and teaching us more! One thing we will for sure take from this practice as a couple (among many, many other take-aways ) is a question Miranda and Ryan advised us to ask our partner during our practice which was “What Can I Give You?” What a powerful question. It diverts your potential frustration and veers one away from saying “you’re not doing this, you’re not doing that” or  “I need this, I feel that”  to “How Can I make this better/easier for you?” If both partners ask and respond to this question you make so much progress. Understanding that we both need different things to be successful but also need each others support 100% . These are not just Acro Yoga lessons, these are relationship and life lessons! The bonding, trust, communication and exhilaration all wrapped up into one beautiful and present yoga practice. Together as one. They say Yoga comes from the word “Unity” and I think this yoga practice unifies a couple together more than anything I’ve seen.

Thank you Acro Buddha’s!

 They will be having a Acro Yoga Work shops on the following dates at:

LULULEMON – THE ATTIC
318 Queen Street West, Toronto

May 25th 5:30pm – 7:00pm
June 24th 12:30pm – 2:30pm
June25th 11:00am – 2:00pm

and join them at the EMERGE FESTIVAL in Laurentian Valley, Ontario from

Friendship and trust bonding exercise
 Miranda and Ryan teaching
Miranda and Ryan shooting with the sunset
Our daily practice!

POTIONS: Activated Charcoal

Also, while in Jamaica we had the pleasure of listening to a few talks held by David Wolfe. David is nutritionist from a family of medical doctors who focuses on super foods, raw foods and the worlds most powerful supplements coming from nature. He gives many talks at events, retreats, expos and schools around the world. He was also a guest lecturer during our studies at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) , where brit and I studied in 2014.  One key take-away from David was that Activated Charcoal is likely the most important supplement there is and should be taken daily!

 

Dr.Axe writes “Activated charcoal is a potent natural treatment used to trap toxins and chemicals in the body, allowing them to be flushed out so the body doesn’t reabsorb them. It’s made from a variety of sources, but when used for natural healing, it’s important to select activated charcoal made from coconut shells or other natural sources.

One of the most popular activated charcoal uses is for the safe and effective treatment of poisoning and drug overdoses. It’s used in emergency trauma centres across the world. In addition, it’s used to reduce bloating and gas, lower cholesterol, treat bile flow problems safely during pregnancy, and even prevent hangovers.” Read more 

We like to make a charcoal lemonade after or in-between alcoholic drinks, when we have stomach/digestive issues (cheat weekend anyone?) or when we feel we need more detoxification due to walking or biking around in a big, air-polluted city ( still love you Toronto!). We also like making a mask or peel with charcoal.  Mix with bentonite clay for a mask or gelatin for a peel to pull out toxins and impurities from the skin!

Charcoal lemonade recipe:

Serves 2

  1. 2 lemons squeezed
  2. 2 cups of filtered water or chilled black/green or rooibos tea
  3. 2 tea spoons of activated coconut charcoal
  4. 2 table spoons of sweetener = honey, maple syrup or coconut sugar. If using stevia just 1 teaspoon since it’s hyper sweet! 🙂
  5. Pinch of himalayan salt
  6. Blend and enjoy!

 

POSTIVE THOUGHT: Setting Intentions 

Another event we attended at TMRW TDAY was a Cacao Ceremony. If you’ve never heard of one of these, listen up! It includes loads of hot chocolate, great music and friendly vibes.. Need we say more? Not to mention setting an intention with each sip or bite of the wondrous cultivated bean.

An article by the-numinous.com writes :

WHAT IS A CACAO CEREMONY, AND WHEN DO PEOPLE SEEK THIS MEDICINE OUT? 
“A cacao ceremony is an opportunity to connect to yourself and open your heart. Because of cacao’s ability to increase your connection to your inner self and your heart chakra, it aids in any transformational shift you are working towards, whether you are looking to deepen your understanding of who you are, release old patterns and traumas, or move into a more self-confident space. Whatever your path, the intention is yours to set, and the cacao allows you to the insight and awareness to move towards that goal.”

CACAO IS ASSOCIATED WITH UNIVERSAL LOVE – WHY IS THIS? IS THIS WHY WE GIFT CHOCOLATE TO OUR LOVERS?
Due to certain active ingredients that help release ‘feel good’ emotions, cacao is considered a heart opener. Creating feelings of emotional intimacy and pleasure, it has long been considered a luxurious delicacy, especially with the addition of sugar and spices to suit modern palates. Without realizing, we still get to enjoy a small fraction of it’s potential when we eat cacao in a regular chocolate bar. And yes, this is why it has become associated with romantic gestures and pleasurable indulgence! ” Read more here!

 As we sat and learned a bit about the history of the cacao plant, cacao fruits and the bean, we drank a delicious mix of raw cacao, coconut milk. lucuma ( a natural sweetener) and sea salt. We then set our intentions for the night, for the week or even the year. Eating or drinking cacao has some energizing effects so these ceremonies are done without any alcohol or stimulants involved, but you’d be surprised how much fun you can still have without them which is in it’s self, another powerful lesson. After, we danced to live music, watched a beautiful performance by the Acro Buddahs and laughed with old and new friends.  
We don’t know about you but we freaking love chocolate.. and the darker, the better.  The darker you eat, the more minerals like zinc, magnesium, copper, healthy fats and less sugar it will contain. We started at 50 0r 60% then worked our way up and now that seems too sweet! Brit and I are big fans of 90% Swiss chocolate and sometimes we dip them in nut butters for the most delectable snack. Now we’ll surely set an intention each time we have our beloved chocolate, which by the way is already a daily ritual! 
Ways to add more cacao love into your life:
  • Add 100% Cacao powder to your morning coffees for a homemade mocha
  • Sprinkle Cacao Nibs ( crushed cocoa beans) on to your yogurt/ smoothie bowls
  • Make energy balls or or trail mix with nuts and cut up dark chocolate/nibs
or make this 1 min mug cake!
Serves 1
  1. Using one standard coffee mug:
  2. Melt 2 pieces of dark chocolate (20 grams) or 1 table spoon of cacao 
  3. add 1 table spoon of butter or coconut oil
  4. 1 table spoon of maple syrup
  5. 1 table spoon of nut butter 
  6. mix that well 
  7. add 1 egg
  8. stir well 
  9. then Microwave for 1 min 20 seconds
  10. Set your intentions and enjoy! 

We hope you enjoyed your weekly dose of Health Hacks and Fitness Tips.

Check back weekly for more!

xx

Amanda and Brit 

P.O.W #12 Sunscreen, Running and Time Management

“3 P’s for Optimal Performance and Health

Potion: Coola Sunscreen 

Oh sunscreen. Yes, it truly is a love-hate relationship. We want to keep our skin healthy and “sans burn” however we also want a bronzed and golden tan all throughout the summer. The process to get a perfect and (and safe) tan should be strategically planned, coupled with a bit of patience and should involve a healthy and sustainable sunscreen. From our own experience we have found that you will still get a beautiful tan while you wear sunscreen AND you will be protecting your skin from burns and harmful UV rays.  We’ll  certainly want to be protected while teaching in beautiful Negril, Jamaica at the TMRW TDAY Culture fest this month! Super stoked we’ll keep you posted. So, let us tell you a little bit about the sunscreen we choose to use while basking in the beautiful rays.

COOLA’s full line of luxury and high performing sun and skincare products incorporate a Farm to Face® sourcing philosophy, using the freshest and most natural ingredients whenever possible. Each product is formulated with Plant Protection®, which allows to achieve clinically tested, broad spectrum, age-defying and antioxidant-rich protection while using fewer traditional actives and no nano-sized particles. Better for your skin, better for the environment.”

With Coola we find a little goes a LONG way. It smells amazing and it doesn’t leave our skin feeling oily. The price point is a little higher but we believe it is a great investment. 

Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide (Sunscreen) 5.25%, Zinc Oxide (Sunscreen) 3.0%. 

Why the bad stuff is bad

Most sunscreens in many cases may actually promote skin cancer growth and free radical production in the body. In fact, many reports show that most sunscreens actually increase skin cancer risk according to this article by the Huffington Post. AND… if you are feeling creative and crafty – why not try making your own concoction of Natural sunscreen?!

Physical: Running ( brit’s journey to prepare for  the Sporting life 10K)

I never thought I would say this but I am really starting to like this thing called running, I would ALWAYS dread it in any workout even if it was a light jog to just warm up. However, I recently signed myself up to run the Sporting Life 10K  in support of a summer camp. Camp Oochigeas is unlike any other camp in Canada. Exclusively serving children with cancer, it’s be privately funded, staffed entirely by volunteers and completely free. A camp where every child no matter how debilitating their illness, would be provided an opportunity to explore enriching, challenging, fun experiences through what is fondly referred to today as “the Magic of Ooch.” I thought to myself ” What better reason to run then for someone who needs it and 10k isn’t that far – I’ve got this”. Little did I know it is actually pretty far for someone who isn’t a frequent runner and already disliked running.  My first run was pretty tough. I would walk then run repetitively taking breaks letting my mind (and my sore feet and shins) get the best of me. My second run got a little better at the beginning and then became tough around 3 Kilometres in and I thought to myself “Will this ever get better or easier?”.  I felt like there was ALWAYS something bothering me on every run especially when my calves really started to flare up. I asked my boyfriend, “Why are my calves hurting but everyone else I speak to who’s been preparing for this run feels fine?!” and then, we figured it out… It was my technique! I had been running on the balls of my feet and not from heel to toe! So on my fifth run I started to feel REAL good! My cardiovascular was on point! I felt like the energizer bunny and come the end of my run my calves didn’t hurt! YES! The lesson here is, well, don’t run on the balls of your feet of course 😉 BUT to stick to it and be consistent! Just keep going like the energizer bunny because you can do absolutely anything you set your mind to. I know, a lot of you are probably thinking running just isn’t for me and you know what? You could be right! We all have to find what works for us but there is nothing wrong with trying a new thing and when you decide to do so stay consistent and give it your all! Rome wasn’t built in a day my friends! Ask yourself – Has anything you’ve tried out for the first time worked on the first attempt? Of course not! So give it a go, you may surprise yourself! Last piece of advice; Remember to always listen to your body! 

“Running generally has profound benefits.  It has been shown to decrease the risk of diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, and depression while improving bone density and supporting weight control. However, the risks of marathon distance running must be considered and addressed with proper training, nutrition, rest, and attention to form. Those with heart conditions, biomechanical issues or other risk factors should not begin training for a marathon without close medical supervision. Future articles will provide injury prevention tips and nutritional guidelines for long distance running to help reduce the risks and optimize the benefits of long distance running.”

Check out this article on the risks and benefits of long distance running. 

Sign up, donate or learn more about The Sporting life 10K here

 

 

Practical: Time Management 

Time management can make or break you. We have 24 hours in a day people! Thats a whole lotta hours that is, if they are used in the right way. Working harder does not necessarily mean you achieve more of your tasks but by working smarter you can easily get more things done within the allotted time frame or even with less. If we start to become more aware of how much time we should really be spending on a specific activity we can then become much more efficient with that time. Effective time management is based on quality rather than quantity. It does not mean getting more things done quickly, it means getting important things done first. Its all about Efficiency.

Tips for time management

Make lists 

  • Learn to prioritize what is most importantWhat needs to get done first? Using apps like Wunderlist will do “Wunders” or simply have a white board on the fridge so that it’s visible to you every morning.
  • Break your lists up. We like to have a day to day to-do list, a week to week to-do list and a monthly to-do list. Once you’ve achieved all of your tasks anything else that you complete is just a bonus! With Wunderlist you can set alarms and priorize what needs to get done firstly today, tomorrow or in a week etc.
  • Add friends or partners to hold each other accountable for shared tasks. You could do this without an app but it’s free and you both can be added to a specific list and get notified when one of you completes a task or picks up a grocery item!
  • Set a timer for social media. We all love to waste a little time here and there but let’s be honest, did we need to scroll through Instagram for an hour? Probably not. We like to set a timer on my phone or just tell myself  “Okay, you have 15 minutes to kill some brain cells.. now go!”.  We’re not referring to informative articles or blog posts (such as this one of course!) As long as we feel we’ve learned something we still believe the time used was valuable.

Once you have your priorities in check you will have more time to spend on the things that matter. When we have trouble managing our time it can result in lack of time spent with our families, close relationships, self-care, finances and personal development.  Effective time management can help us spend quality time with things we really care about. It helps you make great choices and spend time with things that are more valuable to you. The more that you value your time you realize what matters most to you. The hardest thing to do is start implementing these habits but once you start you’ll never turn back!

 

 

We hope you enjoyed your weekly dose of Health Hacks and Fitness Tips.

Check back every Friday for more!

xx

Amanda and Brit 

 

P.O.W # 10 Deltoids, Hyaluronic acid, Bosu Ball

“3 P’s for Optimal Performance and Health

PHYSICAL: Deltoids

Isolating and targeting the deltoid ( shoulder ) muscles is a great workout that I have been working on in my own personal workouts and also what I teach in my Pilates classes. There are 3 parts to the deltoid; Anterior ( front), Posterior ( back ) and Middle division. In my personal opinion it is hard to target Anterior and Posterior Delts without the Middle Delt taking over or our Trapezius muscle which is a bigger, stronger upper back muscle. This is often why when we do 45 degree angle “Flys” ( Lifting arms straight in front of you in the shape of a “v” while holding hand weights ) the anterior delts get tired very quick and the neck and shoulder muscles must pick up the slack. If you’re not an instructor or trainer you may not know how to feel if you have the right muscles firing. In 45 degree angle flys a lot of people tense their shoulders up to their ears which takes the isolation away from the delts into the trapezius muscles. Also, the belief that you need heavier weight to increase strength in this case, I don’t believe is true. The heavier the weight is will likely cause your larger muscles to recruit to handle the tension. So that Delt exercise becomes a trapezius and rhomboid exercise.  The exercise below is my favourite way to target Anterior delts because you’re lying down on your side allowing your back to be free from the tension that is caused from standing and stabilizing. Also, lying on your side ensures gravity is helping to access posterior delts as well while we go from internal and external rotation with gravity pushing downwards during internal rotation.  If most of that is “jibber jabber” just try this exercise and tell me which muscles you feel screaming at you 😉

Start side lying with either head proper up or lying down on top of a straight arm on the ground, knees bent in on a 90 degree angle in line with the front of your hip bones.

  • Pull the ribs and belly button in towards the spine so that the lower back is flat and core is engaged
  • Using your elbow and hip as a pivot point trying to keep contact with the side of your body or hip bone at all times
  • Choose a Weight : I recommend starting low and seeing how quickly your muscles exhausts. 2 – 8 pounds is all you need! ( 8 being VERY optimistic.. I usually only get some men to use 8lbs )
  • Inhale to begin with the weight on the mat, exhale to lift the weight to the ceiling right over the hip. After 8 repetitions of full range do 8 reps half way down (hip height parallel to ground –  Picture 2 ) then back up to the ceiling. With out a break do it again 8 reps full range (floor to ceiling) immediately followed by 8 reps mid range ( hip height to ceiling)

The front of your shoulder should feel like its burning or about to fall off 😉  Enjoy!

 

 

 

POTION: Hyaluronic Acid

I’m sure you’ve heard of HA as an ingredient in your skin care products and if you haven’t make sure one of yours contains it! Dr Axe Writes ”  Hyaluronic acid is a lubricating, clear substance that’s produced by the body naturally. In the human body, hyaluronic acid is found in the greatest concentrations in the skin, inside joints, within the eye sockets and in other tissues where it helps retain collagen crease moisture, and provide elasticity and flexibility.” Hyaluronic acid has the ability to hold 1000x it’s weight in water keeping your skin hydrated and plumped all day long. It works to keep every aspect of skin stable, protected, constantly renewing and repairing. It’s suitable for all skin types and a great help for those with wrinkles, acne, pigmentation or scars. When I went off birth control last year my skin wrecked havoc on my life. I figured that I needed to use typically boasted acne products with super drying agents to combat the supposed oil production. Little did I know I was doing more harm than good. In most cases our skin just needs to be super hydrated so that it can heal it’s self. If we were to constantly scrub and dry out a wound it takes longer to heal opening the wound over and over again not to mention drying the skin creating longer lasting hyper-pigmentation, deeper scars and/or wrinkles. I use skin care products from Pure and Simple. They are a Toronto made organic skin care brand based on the Ayurvedic philosophy that I absolutely love. Their staff is SO helpful and knowledgeable and they will let you go home with several samples at a time to try out their products. They also keep a record of everything you try or liked/didn’t like.

A little bit about what Pure and Simple stand for:

ABOUT PURE + SIMPLE

Pure + Simple is an all-natural skincare + wellness spa for customers seeking products + services that are consistent with their healthy natural lifestyle.

What we put on our skin is absorbed into our bodies’ circulatory system, meaning it can contribute or detract our overall health. Beauty is a result of good health; that’s why we only carry skincare brands that have safe + natural ingredients. Every product you see on our shelves is free of harmful ingredients like parabens, petrochemicals, silicones, phthalates, sulfates, or synthetic fragrances + dyes.

The Pure + Simple Difference

We’re different, so we love that you’re different too.

We know that everyone’s skin is unique, requiring customized care. What works for one customer may not work for another, + finding the right fit in terms of products or services for each individual is our expertise.

In order to meet our customers’ skincare needs, we carry more than just our own house brands. Purer + Simple is a curator of truly natural skincare products + services. We test out all of our products + services before offering them to our clientele.

We believe that Knowledge is Power, which is why we invest a lot of time in sharing our research + experience in natural beauty with our staff + clients in order to effectively solve skincare + beauty issues. Our skincare philosophy is based on Ayurveda, a holistic health modality from India that emphasizes the relationship between our mind, body, + spirit. We trust that our belief systems, along with our behavior + actions, greatly influence the state of our health + physical appearance. That’s why we strive to live holistic, healthy lives, which positively affects our skin!

Our staff are constantly learning + undergoing training to refine their skills. Our standards for hiring are high, but our standards for growth within the company are higher. That’s why we appreciate all client feedback, as it helps keep us in touch with individual and team progress. If you would like to contribute to our continued improvement, contact us here.

I use these products from Pure and Simple :

Algea Serum

Damage Care

Propolis Cream

All contain a minimum of 80% organic ingredients

 

PROP: Bosu Ball 

The Bosu Ball is a prop used for balance, stability and functional training. “Originally, the name “BOSU” was an acronym for “Both Sides Up.” It meant that the BOSU® Balance Trainer could be used on either side, the dome or the platform.” There are SO many fun ways to incorporate the bosu into your workout and these are just a few! I love how the instability requires you to recruit more muscles to enhance your strength and tone your whole body even more.  Check out their website for more exercise examples!

This one is great for deltoids, triceps and obliques!

Add a little core stability and a wider range of motion 

We hope you enjoyed your weekly dose of Health Hacks and Fitness Tips.

Check back weekly for more!

xx

Amanda and Brit

 

 

 

 

 

 

P.O.W #7 Hydration, Peppermint oil and Foot Release

“3 P’s for Optimal Performance and Health”

 

 

PHYSICALHydration

This past week I (Amanda) had another kidney stone attack. This isn’t a first as it is a hereditary condition that I have had trouble with since my teens. Unfortunately, there isn’t much advice out there that is congruent enough to follow rigidly. Most people assume it’s from too much salt or protein in the diet but a majority of stones today are made from Calcium deposits. But don’t go thinking that means you have to limit dairy, quite the contrary.. some advise to eat more. It could also be a mineral build up from the unfiltered water you drink.  I’ve also read that high oxalate foods such as, dark leafy greens, dark chocolate, green tea, coffee, sweet potatoes and tofu are the culprit. Which is unfortunate since those are all super healthy foods I eat on the regular, and quite frankly I don’t intend to stop eating them any time soon. They could get a sample from a stone and tell you what yours specifically is made out of but it’s not the easiest process. Even then the causes are not completely known. The only consistent piece of advice I found was of course to drink more water. We all know we should drink more water but busy days get the best of us or our favourite beverage takes precedence . Not to mention how active you are and during the summer months we need to hydrate even more. I gather that albeit having to go through this pain that I think I have made a difference in the size of the stone that was lessoned by my diet and water consumption. My theory is my diet had broken down the stone rather than having it build up and become larger. So, I won’t become paranoid about the foods I eat I’ll just remember to always increase my water consumption to flush out and clean those precious kidneys of mine.

Tips to increase water consumption :

  • Drink only water with your meals and when out a restaurants ( and add a little lemon too!)
  • Add fruit to flavour your water!
  • Use an on the go Brita water bottle to filter water where ever you are – No excuses! (I use this one )
  • Drink coconut water as well ( but don’t over do it as it is high in natural sugars but also full of electrolytes, potassium and magnesium)

 

POTION : Peppermint Oil

After being on heavy pain meds my stomach hadn’t been feeling so good. I was nauseous and felt I had heartburn 24/7 ( which I never get ) I was desperate to find relief and stumbled upon my peppermint oil in my cabinet. I read online I could apply it topically to my belly and throat as well as make a tea with one little drop. I applied it to my temples as well to sooth my aching head. Finally I was able to sleep! The cooling sensation calmed my belly and my mind and had me thinking why I hadn’t used that in the first place!

I used doTERRA Peppermint oil 

 

 

PROPS : Foot Roller 

Until my training was interrupted by my kidney stones last week, I was about to complete my certification in Fascial Stretch Therapy. My lovely lady Brit had received her certification back in Oct and I wanted to do mine with her but the timing didn’t work out. Fascial Stretch Therapy is a relatively new release therapy which enables a trainer or bodyworker to stretch the client in a realxed state that activates the parasympathetic nervous system, better allowing facilitation of the fascia, muscles and connective tissue . It also incorporates PNF ( Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation ) which has shown great results in increasing range of motion and flexibility as opposed to static stretching which commonly has resulted in either over stretching or just an ineffective stretch. It is also important to think of the body as having connection fascial lines or “nets” and all of these nets correspond at our little piggies. So releasing the tight fascia in the feet is a great addition to add before workout or before bed time! It has the ability to already increased flexibility by doing that alone. You can use a Lacrosse ball, tennis ball or a foot roller. Check here for how to!

 

 

We hope you enjoyed your weekly dose of Health Hacks and Fitness Tips.

Check back weekly for more!

xx

Amanda and Brit