Did We Mention Hydrate...

Did We Mention Hydrate...

Our adult human bodies are comprised of (at least) 50% - 60 % water. [*Dr. Jeffrey Utz, Neuroscience, pediatrics, Allegheny University*].   In the cold weather it is easy to trick ourselves into hydrating less because we just don’t feel as thirsty...

A-Z HEALTH

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H-H-HAZELNUTS

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In the nut family, hazelnuts contain the highest of vitamin E content, are 65% unsaturated fat, and are a good source of protein. They are high in most minerals; calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron, copper and potassium, zinc and selenium, and have a good B vitamin content.

So how are hazelnuts good for you? Lets start with fiber. You know, the gut loving, quality-life giving element of food we have all come to love, accept and understand. Fibre, in review, helps with our bowel transit times, helps keep the intestinal tract clean and clear, and improves overall digestion.  When digestion is functioning at full capacity, so can all other body systems be.

Vitamin E is a skin loving vitamin. Not just the skin on your face. Yes, it's great for the complexion. It's also good for tissue in the body such as cardiac muscle. Yes, hazelnuts are heart healthy! Vitamin E is also a powerful antioxidant helping our bodies combat free radicals. Our cells in our blood stream and walls of our blood vessels need protection from free radicals. Vitamin E, found in hazelnuts can help with this task, thus contributing to overall health.

The calcium found in these nuts are supportive to bone health, and strong teeth. Other minerals, such as zinc and selenium are supportive to thyroid health. Magnesium, can help relax muscle tension and aid sleep. The iron source is great for men and women, and should be loved by vegetarians as an alternative to meat.

Hazelnuts have a good source of B vitamins for those looking for new sources. B vitamins are the "anti stress" relief many of us are looking for.

Protein, healthy fat and fibre, all contribute to healthy growth and maintenance of tissues during all stages of life. So the next time you are thinking about fueling up on nuts, throw some hazels in the mix!

 

Beauty Superfood: Vitamin C

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When it comes to youthful, radiant & healthy skin - Vitamin C is the answer! Vitamin C is a powerful beauty superfood that nourishes the skin to prevent signs of aging and keeps the skin healthy, vibrant & glowing! Vitamin C is a water soluble nutrient that our bodies cannot produce, therefore Vitamin C is an essential part of our daily diet. If eating a balanced, whole foods diet, you will likely be able to get adequate amounts of Vitamin C daily from the food you eat (this is what we recommend). However, there is also the option to use a natural supplement - this can be expensive and isn't really necessary.

Nourishing Benefits of Vitamin C:

  • Powerful antioxidant benefits - Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps to fight damage caused by free radicals (in the foods we may eat and our environment). Free radicals can cause damage to the bodies cells and speed up signs of aging - antioxidants are important for nourishing our bodies and our skin!
  • Heals the skin - Vitamin C helps to heal and replenish the skin from acne-related blemishes.
  • Supports skin integrity - Vitamin C plays a critical role in the formation of collagen and collagen helps to give the skin its firmness and even tone. Increasing your Vitamin C intake (within a healthy range), will help the body to produce collagen resulting in healthy skin, hair and nails.
  • Helps iron absorption - as females, many of us have low(er) levels of iron, which can cause anemia and low energy. Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron from our food, when we eat iron-rich and Vitamin C rich foods at the same time.

Top 10 Vitamin C rich foods: oranges, red peppers, kale, brussels sprouts, broccoli, strawberries, guava, grapefruit, kiwi and green peppers

Our advice: limit your intake of juice as a source of Vitamin C. Juice is loaded with natural sugars which can cause our blood sugar to spike and our body in unable to digest that much fructose at any given time.

Here's to healthy, glowing skin!

A-Z HEALTH

“For the love of”-GARLIC!

Garlic. It’s a staple in cooking world-wide. It’s one of the most common, easily accessible, delicious, nutritious and potent herbs on earth.

Garlic is capable of many things. As an immune boosting herb, it has the ability to affect our organs involved in immunity in such a way, that our bodies can produce more immune boosting cells, increase the activity level of existing cells, or both. Hence, why our elders would say “eat more garlic” when we suffer with cold/flu symptoms.

Not only will immune boosting garlic reduce cold/flu symptoms and potentially help us avoid them in the first place, but garlic can help rid our bodies of parasites, lower blood pressure, and aid in reducing risk of cardiovascular type dis-ease. The list goes on…purifying the blood, detoxifying through lymph and the rest of the body, lower the blood clotting factor.

Let’s talk antioxidants. What do they do? Combat free radicals, that’s what. Why is that awesome? Because a free radical is an unstable molecule that can cause irritation and breakdown of our tissues unless they are neutralized by antioxidants in the body. Garlic is just one of those antioxidants.

Garlic gives us anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties. It’s been used as a supplemental herb for more than boosting immunity. There’s more garlic has been used for; anti-ageing, antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, circulatory aid, energy boosting, immune support, and on a spiritual level, century old tales tell us that, in theory, garlic keeps away evil spirits (or any spirits for that matter). Hollywood has certainly brought these stories to life!

So eat your garlic! Cook with it, use it raw, source organic, local, good quality stuff. Keep some on hand to ward away those spirits, and most importantly, live long and strong!

ESMÉ, YOU'RE 2!!

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ESTEEMD LOVED,...

{TRIBUTE}

Here’s to looking forward, and reflecting back. From the inside out, Esme is a place of self-care. With holistic nutrition focusing on one’s transformation into health, aesthetics being the icing on the cake-allowing their guests to feel ah-mazing, and flowers to brighten ones spirit-there are no gaps to fill between inner and outer beauty. Supporting local, and small businesses, Esme boasts a wide range of products, including some of their own. Over the past 2 years, this part of the business has grown enough to create an online store, available for product ordering-thanks to the support of loyal guests who believe in the same thing Esme does-organic, whole, natural alternatives, and products that provide outstanding results. It doesn’t end there. From its conception, Esme has been on point with service. From the beautiful teas and coffees, crazy delicious popcorn, chocolates or macarons, there is always something to engage your taste buds during this experience. Private parties, a wide range of aesthetics, floral classes, holistic nutrition seminars, weddings, really any occasion is a reason to be touched by Esme-it’s a special thing. And it shows no signs of stopping. Esme. Where the end goal is that guests feel esteemed and loved. Where you get more than just health, beauty and floral. Where the vision is clear and the visionary becomes a true part of revolutionizing what the standard of beauty is.

{SHE} She creates her own path, gathering like-minded individuals to walk with her. She treats guests and Esme staff with much consideration, respect and honour. Serving them the best bites, and creating a welcoming, comfortable setting. She is tolerant of those who are lost on their path. She forgives those who make mistakes. When something doesn’t work, she works to fix it. She doesn’t give up when it gets hard, and is pulled in 10 different directions at once, and that’s inspiring. She practices optimism, and strives to create only an optimistic environment. She loves her staff like family, constantly building a strong foundation. Her staff is amazing, diverse, caring, hard-working, and talented. She’s always looking to maintain balance-in life and business. She is true to herself first, never straying from her dream. This, is why she is able to nurture and help them to reach theirs. She shares good fortune with others. She gives….and gives, and then gives some more. She inspires us to become our best version of ourselves. She is strong enough to stand alone, She’s herself enough to stand apart, And wise enough to stand together.

Team Esme-may you continue to grow, prosper, inspire, help others feel esteemed and loved. You are legendary at year 2!

Team ESME…. Angela, Meg, Andee, Robyn, Katie, Sarah, Jess, Jojo, Becca, Sara, Sora, Jill.

Written by:

Lise Johnson

A-Z HEALTH

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F-is for...FIG!

Sweet, mildly fragrant, soft, and rich in colour, figs are a powerful and useful fruit. They pack an amazing amount of nutrients; high amounts of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, fiber, sulphur, many B vitamins, copper, zinc, manganese, vitamin C, vitamin E and even small amounts of lipids (fats) and amino acids (protein). Because of the high calcium content of figs, they are known to help maintain strong bones. Figs also have a reputation for being able to kill bacteria and roundworms in the body, and they are useful for things like aiding digestion, hemorrhoids, constipation and lowering blood cholesterol. These gems boost immunity and help ease coughs, hoarseness, as well as ease symptoms of respiratory and lung disorders. Did you digest all of that? Yeah-it’s a lot for one fruit!

{RECIPE}

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THE INGREDIENTS 6 beautiful, ripe figs 2 oz cheese, like brie, goat or other (approx.) balsamic reduction or honey (to drizzle) small handful of pistachios

THE HOW TO

To start, place the oven rack in the middle position and turn your oven to broil. Cut the cheese into small pieces. Wash the figs and cut off the very tips. Cut a cross about one-third of the way down the fig. Open it up slightly and place a piece of cheese inside. Ripe figs are quite delicate, so make sure to be gentle with them. Place each fig onto a parchment-lined baking tray and into the oven. Broil for about 2-3 minutes or until the cheese fully melts. To serve, place onto a platter and drizzle with a balsamic reduction (or a quality, aged balsamic vinegar), or honey. Top with pistachios. These delicious figs are amazing served with lightly toasted crostini. Enjoy with gratitude!

-Lise Johnson

Soul Q's

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SELF-LOVE{an inventory of the soul}

There is a deep, true connection between our spiritual being and our physical body. The importance of feeding our bodies with the right foods is a piece of the big picture, for sure. But today, I ask you to take a look inside. Nourish your spirit. Get a pen and paper. Create positive pathways in your brain by repeatedly focusing on a life of fulfillment, and what that means to you. Write it down, make it real. Create your destiny.

Fulfillment; To witness the fulfillment of a dream; to achieve fulfillment of ones hopes.

Do you live a life of fulfillment? Are you living a life for you? Do you live to serve others? Do you live to serve one? Is your soul satisfied with how and to whom you are serving?

Do you grant yourself time for self-love? How do you practice this ritual? What does your heart desire today? What is sacred to you? What do you want to change in your life? What is a quote that resonates within you? What is the best advice you have received recently? What advise would you give yourself today? What are you grateful for? What will you do to feel you are leading a life of fulfillment?

create yourself

-Lise Johnson

For the Love of Tea

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At ESME Beautiful, we love our tea so it seemed fitting to talk about our obsession! In today's blog post we are talking about various types of tea and the associated benefits. We're sharing the basics, but if you're interested, there is SO much more to learn. If you have social media, you've likely seen that tea detoxes (or teatoxes) are all the rage. But, in our humble opinion, tea shouldn't be a trend. There are many types of tea, each with their own unique benefits. Tea can help to heal the body, hydrate the skin, stimulate your metabolism, etc. or simply be an enjoyable, healthy drink (warm or cold). Keep reading to see what teas we love  (and why) at ESME...

  • HERBAL TEA - One of the best things about herbal tea is its hydrating benefits. Many people are dehydrated and are not drinking enough water. Some people don't like the taste of water (or the lack of flavour), so if thats you, increase your water intake by drinking more herbal tea. On top of being hydrating, herbal tea also has various other benefits. For example, ginger tea is good for settling the stomach and reducing nausea. Peppermint tea is also good for digestion (especially after a big meal) due to its soothing properties. Chamomile tea is good for creating feelings of physical relaxation and can help to promote better sleep.
  • BLACK TEA - The caffeine in black tea can help to increase energy and alertness (similar to coffee). But, black tea also is rich in antioxidants - which is great for your skin and detoxification systems. It's important to keep in mind that caffeine is a stimulant that can impact your energy, mood and metabolism. Caffeine is also dehydrating, so to counteract the dehydrating impact of caffeine / coffee, I suggest drinking an additional cup of water for every cup of black tea consumed (this is in addition to the 8-10 cups I recommend drinking daily).
  • GREEN TEA - Green tea is a great addition to a healthy lifestyle. Green tea contains a significant amount of antioxidants which are beneficial for your skin and organs. These antioxidants also support and help our bodies detoxify. Note, green tea does contain caffeine (much lower amounts than black or pur'eh tea), but if you are sensitive to caffeine enjoy your green tea earlier in the day.
  • WHITE TEA - Here is a great article from Mind Body Green that highlights and shares some of the benefits of white teal. For example, white tea is a rich source of antioxidants - with as many as 3X as many polyphenols as green tea. Plus, the article quotes that there have been studies that have shown that white tea can help in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight by boosting the breakdown of fat cells. There is also an antioxidant in white tea that triggers the release of fat from the cells and helps speed up the livers ability to turn fat into energy. If weight loss is one of your health goals, incorporate more white tea into your diet!
  • ROOIBOS TEA - There is a powerful flavonoid in rooibos tea which can reduce stress hormones that trigger hunger and fat storage. Again, if weight loss is your goal - add in more rooibos tea to inhibit the formation of fat cells.
  • PUR'EH TEA - Research suggests that pur'eh tea can help to increase your metabolism and break down fat cells. Be careful, pur'eh tea contains caffeine, so if you're sensitive to caffeine, avoid drinking this later in the day.

At ESME we love serving our guests Ollia teas (its local and oh so delicious). Some of our personal favourites are the Madame Grey, Marrakesh Mint, Jasmine Blossom and Summer in Paris. Enjoy a cup at your next ESME appointment.

10 Tips for Beautiful Skin

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You may have seen on our website that ESME, in old french, means "esteemed" or "loved" - and this is what we're all about at ESME beautiful. To us, beauty is about esteem, self-esteem, and love. Which is why through our services and products, we aim to make you feel beautiful. And today on the blog we are talking all about beautiful skin. Did you know that the skin is the bodies largest organ? Since we can absorb the the products we put on topically, it is important to be picky of what we are using. Just as we recommend with food, steer clear of ingredients you cannot pronounce and use natural & organic products, where possible. We also recommend that regular facials are part of your beauty routine. BUT...we can only nourish our skin so much with external practices and products. It is equally important that we nourish our bodies from the inside, out. Nutrition for beauty means cutting some foods out, while adding in some beauty superfoods (we promise its nothing too extreme or restrictive).Beauty foods are often high in antioxidants, low in sugar and very hydrating.

Here are 10 tips to nourish your skin from the inside, out:

  1. Cut out all refined sugar. Refined sugar spikes your insulin levels, causing an increase of inflammation in the body (and on your skin). Inflammation is responsible for breaking down collagen and elastin, which keep your skin tight and wrinkle-free.
  2. Add leafy greens to each meal. The vitamins and minerals in leafy greens like kale, spinach, parsley and cilantro are essential to detoxify the body. Boost your smoothies and salads with extra kale (for antioxidant benefits) and spinach (good source of omega-3s, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium and other vitamins).
  3. Drink a glass of lemon water each morning. Warm lemon water boosts your metabolism and detoxifies the body. Contrary to popular belief, lemons are alkaline and help to balance the pH levels in your body (which in turn, reduces skin inflammation and breakouts). Check out this blog post on the top benefits of lemon water.
  4. Make your midday snack a healthy one. We recommend having sliced cucumbers, carrots and celery on hand to eat with healthy dips like hummus and/or nut butter. Cucumbers are especially good for your skin as they are hydrating and nourishing (great for your skin from the inside and topically).
  5. Amp up your parsley and cilantro. Parsley is great for supporting the liver & kidney, boosts metabolism and effectively removes toxins from the body. Parsley is great to add into smoothies, juice or sprinkled on salad. On the other hand, cilantro is rich in antioxidants and helps to naturally cleanse the body. If you like cilantro, add to smoothies, juice, salads and dips.
  6. Stay off soy. Soy is full of phytoestrogens that can cause breakouts on your skin. You may notice these hormonal blemishes around your mouth, jaw line and chin.
  7. Cut the coffee. Caffeine is a diuretic, which means that too much will dehydrate your body. Signs of dehydration include headaches, lack of energy and under eye circles. For many people, drinking coffee is a habit. Try swapping your morning coffee with green tea. Green tea does contain a small amount of caffeine but it green tea is also high in wrinkle-fighting antioxidants.
  8. Cut out all processed foods & dairy. Processed foods are often filled with chemicals which can cause inflammation in the body and breakouts on your skin. Try to eat as natural as possible and limit your intake of packaged foods. If buying packaged foods, make sure you can pronounce all of the ingredients and aim for foods with less than 5 ingredients. Many people are allergic, sensitive or intolerant to dairy. If this is you, dairy may cause havoc on your skin through inflammation, breakouts or small red bumps / skin irritation. Cut dairy out for a couple of weeks and observe any changes.
  9. Drink 8-10 cups of water every day. Being dehydrated can cause irritated skin, a slowed metabolism and an increased appetite. Ensure your body is hydrated and drink 8-10 cups of water each day, throughout the whole day. If you are active, drink more water to account for water lost through sweat.
  10. Eat lots of healthy fats. Especially avocados, your skin will thank you! Avocados are full of moisturizing monosaturated fats, are a great source of antioxidants. The antioxidants in avocados help to protect your skin from damage causing fine lines and wrinkles. Tip: if you have avocados that are soft - peel, remove the pit and slice into quarters. Freeze and add to smoothies. 
What beauty swaps are you going to make this week?
 
[AUTHOR: BECCA CORNWALL]

A-Z HEALTH

‘E’ is for ESSENTIAL

{BUILDING BLOCKS} We hear a lot about EFA’s (essential fatty acids). The reality is, there are many things that are essential for our physical bodies to thrive. Today, I’m talking about Essential Amino Acids. These amino acid’s are the building blocks of protein. All proteins are combinations of 23 amino acids. Our bodies make most of them on it's own, but eight of those amino's are essential, meaning our bodies cannot make them. When all of these essential amino’s are present in the body, it’s able to produce other amino acids. When some, or even just one amino acid is low or not present, the body is unable to synthesize other proteins it needs-even if we have a high protein intake. Protein, the wonderful macronutrient that it is, is responsible for amazing things like building and maintenance of tissue, for the formation of hormones, blood clotting, formation of milk during lactation, and regulating the acid-alkaline balance of tissues and blood. Amino acids also improve cognitive function. Chemical messengers called neurotransmitters that communicate from cell to cell are dependant on amino acids for that communication to happen. These messengers (there are hundreds of different kinds in the brain and body), affect mood, emotions, sleep patterns, our ability to cope with-and calm down after stress. The’ll keep you sharp, happy, and relaxed-when amino acids are in balance. Serotonin (which is made from the amino acid tryptophan), is an example of a key neurotransmitter. It keeps you happy, improving your mood and banishes the blues. Serotonin is a pre-cursor to melatonin, which is what give us our day/night patterns and helps us sleep.

{PROTEIN POWER} Generally speaking, the better the quality of protein you eat, the less you actually need to be well nourished. The quality of a protein is determined by it’s balance of amino acids. How much protein is enough? Well, that depends on the person and his/her needs. Are they an athlete looking to achieve certain goals? Or a middle aged woman who requires protein maintenance? Some great sources of good quality protein with the right balance of amino acids (aside from protein powders and supplements), are; Quinoa, brown rice, tuna, cod, salmon, sardines, chicken, eggs, organic yogurt, lentils/rice combined, and beans/rice combined.

{GENERAL GUIDELINES} To help ensure optimal intake of amino acids, make sure you are getting 3 protein-rich foods per day. Choose good quality, vegetable and meat sources and include a wide variety. Variety is key. When eating animal proteins, choose organic and grass fed whenever possible. Remember, the 3 macro’s-carbs, proteins, and fats should be consumed at each meal! If you have further questions regarding your protein intake and your lifestyle, or any other dietary needs, contact your personal heath care coach-that may be a holistic nutritionist, personal trainer, or your doctor. Now get building your blocks!

-Lise Larochelle

C.H.N. Certified Holistic Nutritionist

EAT FAT!

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EAT FAT!Many recent studies indicate that healthy saturated fats are in fact, protective to not only the heart, but also the liver.

The 'cholesterol myth' as it has been referred to, is the reasoning that diets should be low in fat to reduce heart disease. Cholesterol is not, in fact the problem, rather, it's low fat diets and processed foods, where the fat is taken out and replaced with....SUGAR-say what!!??

Sugar = inflammation in the body, and in turn chronic diseases have increased significantly since we were advised that low fat diets were healthy. Inflammatory diseases are still on the rise. When there is inflammation in the arteries, unhealthy fats become trapped=buildup.

Fat is a macronutrient-like protein and carbs. It is necessary for our bodies to function optimally. Fat is an amazing energy source! We need fat for our cell membranes, hormones and hormone building, children require fat for development-especially reproductive systems, immunity, and for strong bones and teeth.

60% of our brain is cholesterol, and our cell membranes are made out of fat, so its crucial that our bodies get the fat needed for our cells to communicate.

We need fats so our bodies can absorb minerals and fat soluble vitamins A, E, D, K, which all support a healthy gut and digestive tract, immunity, bones and teeth and those fats help just absorb, assimilate and metabolize minerals.

Fat is also a necessary component of insulin production. Eating healthy fats slows absorbtion of foods at mealtime, and in turn we feel fuller for longer, and this helps balance blood sugar.

Keep in mind when making food choices...trans fats displace healthy fats! Eating whole, unprocessed foods, that are organic and local as much as possible, will help you become the healthier you!

Eating healthy fat, aids our metabolism, nervous systems, it also balances hormones and aids in weigh loss-so hell ya, eat fat, shred fat!

There are so many reasons to eat healthy fats, and I can assure you this will not be the last article surrounding this gem.

Below is a very quick, simple recipe for a healthy snack/dessert and is great for everything I've mentioned in this article!

WHIPPED COCONUT CREAM DESSERT *refridgerate a can of organic coconut milk for 1 hr or more. *open, and scoop the heavy cream into your mixer *whip for 2 mins *this is when you can add vanilla bean, cinnamon, etc...get creative! *scoop into bowls and add fresh or frozen organic berries! Voila!!

{p.s.-can you imagine the variations on this!? cocoa powder, or lemon zest, or shredded coconut, or date puree, omg-the possibilities.}

-Your heart and soul will love you for this!

Author: Lise Johnson

5 Reasons to Drink Warm Lemon Water

When it comes to healthy habits, its all about ease, simplicity and consistency.  For me, that means that my healthy routines are all about what can most easily be incorporated and what will do the most for my body (i.e. smallest amount of effort for the biggest reward). If I don't feel and/or see a positive shift, I won't keep doing it (I don't have time for that and I doubt that you do either). With that being said, warm lemon water is my tried and true health habit that I commit to EVERY morning. It's one healthy habit that I recommend to everyone! Warm lemon water is easy to incorporate and has SO many health benefits. Below are five reasons to start drinking warm lemon water:

  • One:  Whole body detoxification. Drinking warm lemon water effectively detoxifies the liver and the liver is the bodies primary organ for detoxification. When the liver is functioning optimally, the body is able to purge excess toxins and reduce inflammation. Also, drinking warm lemon water first thing in the morning wakes up your digestive fire to prime your body to optimal digestion all day long.
  • Two: Boosts your immune system. Lemons are high in Vitamin C, a key vitamin needed for immunity.
  • Three: Balances your pH levels. Lemons are an alkaline food. Yes, on their own, lemons are highly acidic but in our bodies, lemons have an alkaline effect. Alkaline diets are great at reducing inflammation in the body.
  • Four: Helps with weight loss. When the body is out of balance, it becomes increasingly more difficult to lose weight. Lemons help to restore balance in the body - by regulating the pH levels and detoxifying any excess toxins.
  • Five: Clears skin. As mentioned above, lemons are high in vitamin C which helps to reduce and prevent wrinkles and blemishes. Plus, lemons help to detoxify the blood which also has a positive effect on your skin (less toxins inside the body = less breakouts).

Instead of having a cup of coffee as soon as you get out of bed, make yourself a glass of warm lemon water (...you can have your coffee after). In addition to the benefits listed above, enjoying warm lemon water in the morning is very hydrating (and we need that after a good nights sleep). Lemon water is simple to make but in order to maximize the nutritional benefits of lemon, don't use boiling water! If the water is boiling (or even just too hot) you will actually destroy some of the nutritional properties of the lemon and as a result, reduce the health benefit in your body. So here's exactly what you need to do:

  1. Bring 2/3 cup water to a boil.
  2. In a mug combine 2/3 cup boiling water and 1/3 cup room temperature water (filtered is best, if possible).
  3. Add lemon slices or juice of 1/2 lemon.
  4. Enjoy on an empty stomach and feel great!

Tip: Once you finish your warm lemon water, rinse your mouth with filtered water to ensure the acidity of the lemon doesn't damage the enamel on your teeth.

[AUTHOR: BECCA CORNWALL]

Beauty from Within

You've likely heard the saying before, you are what you eat. Well...that's not entirely true, you are what you digest and absorb. When we nourish our bodies with healthy, whole foods (and are able to absorb that nutritional goodness), our tummies, skin, hair/nails, energy, etc. all reap the benefits.

For example, do you want glowing skin? Well...that healthy glow you are longing for actually starts in the gut. Our external appearance is (often) a reflection of what we've got going on inside. It's not always an easy fix because no two bodies are the same, so what works for one may not work for another. However, here are a couple of things that we can all do to optimize our digestion and absorption:

  • One: Where possible, eat local. If you are eating local, your food is often more fresh with fewer (or no) preservatives. Not sure what's in season? Check out your local farmers market and browse the local produce stands.
  • Two: Eat whole foods that are as close to nature as possible. As a general rule, on packaged foods, limit the ingredient list to less than 5 ingredients and make sure you are able to pronounce each ingredient. If you can't pronounce it, you probably shouldn't be eating it.
  • Three: Eat probiotic rich foods or take a high quality probiotic supplement.  A healthy gut biome is key to all areas of your health - physical and emotional. Probiotics help to repopulate and rebalance the healthy bacteria in our gut.
  • Four: Add greens to every meal. Dark leafy greens are filled with antioxidant and detoxification priorities. Green smoothies and green juices offer an easy on the go option to get your greens in!
  • Five: Drink more water. Water is so important to overall health. When the body is properly hydrated our detoxification systems function optimally, nutrients are more easily absorbed and overall health is improved.
  • Six: Stress less. Stress hinders our bodies ability to digest because when we are stressed, we are in our sympathetic nervous system (i.e. fight or flight). When we are in this state, our bodies are not using energy to digest (because historically we experienced this stressed state when we were in a dangerous situation, i.e. being chased by a bear). Optimal digestion occurs when we are in a relaxed state (parasympathetic nervous system, rest and digest). So...for optimal absorption and nourishment, we CANNOT be so stressed. So breathe deep.
  • Seven: Get more sleep. Aim for 7-8 hours every night (I know, this seems impossible for some). Sleep is important for your body to rest, repair and regenerate. Plus, a lack of sleep leads to an increase in the production of the hormone, ghrelin. Elevated levels of this hormone negatively impact our ability to recognize when we are no longer hungry (and therefore we tend to overeat). Overeating negatively impacts digestion and causes inflammation in the body.
  • Eight: Drink your food - sounds weird, right? Digestion begins in your mouth, so remember to chew your food, until its a 'liquid' consistency.

Integrate all (or at least some) of these suggestions and observe change in how you feel and how you look. Slow down and allow your body to nourish, absorb and digest. Sometimes its easier said than done, but your body will thank you.

[AUTHOR: BECCA CORNWALL]

 

Vélo Café

 

Introducing Vélo Café

They are at it again! The founders of Cassis Bistro have another delightful offering for Calgary to enjoy - Vélo Café, which opened November 25th.

 

 

It all started when Gille Brassart (co-owner of Cassis Bistro and Suzette Bistro) created a Facebook group for cyclists in the city. After weekly rides, the group would end up back at Cassis and Gilles saw the need for a space dedicated to their lifestyle and sense of community.

Brassart teamed up with Joel Goralski (owner of Market 17) and voilà… Vélo (rhymes with hello) Café was created. Goralski brings his passion for cycling (he runs a cycling tour company in Buccerious, Mexico), as well as for good food and coffee.

Vélo Café is in the re-vamped Market 17 in the Casel Marché building, located on the corner of 17th Avenue and 24th Street SW and next door to Cassis Bistro. The cozy space seats 25, with barn doors on either end. From 7 am to 6 pm the door opens for Vélo Café and from 6 pm till close the door opens for a private dining room for Cassis Bistro.

Vélo Café is serving patisserie style french delicacies, including croissant and pan de chocolat, plus a breakfast menu lovingly prepared by Chef Stephanie Bayer (Head Chef at Cassis Bistro) and Chef Kazumi Sato (Pastry Chef, Cassis Bistro). There is a large screen on the wall so enthusiasts can watch live cycling events.

Market 17 is stocking a new Cassis-to-Go line which includes menu favourites such as Quiche, Croque-Monsieur, delicious salads and daily soup and has fine-tuned it’s focus to as local and fresh as it can be.

There is now a dedicated space for hand-picked local creators and their product, including body care and flowers from esmebeautiful.com, chocolates from Master Chocolat by Bernard & Sons and gift cards by redpaperboutique.ca. They will also be selling the cycling themed pottery used in the café. Check out the pre-assembled gift bags as will as a do-it-yourself option.

Vélo Café welcomes non-cyclists as well!!!

 

~Jill Forsyth~

A-Z HEALTH

D IS FOR SUNSHINE

Vitamin D. Are you getting enough? It's something that most people are deficient in. It is the vitamin that requires such a great deal of whole-body participation for it to be converted into what's known as vitamin D3, the most active form and best utilized by the body. The skin, bloodstream , liver, and kidneys all contribute to the transformation of the fully active form, D3.

It all starts with our skin, and the sun. Vitamin D is actually manufactured in our skin when it comes into contact with the u.v. light in the sun's rays. Hence, the name "sunshine vitamin" (in case you've not heard the reference before). From the skin, it's then sent to the liver for conversion, and then furthermore, to the kidneys. So, really, vitamin D is more like a hormone than a vitamin. This is because it's produced by one part of the body (skin) and released into the blood to affect other tissues (the bones).

Wintertime, dark skies, smog and darkly pigmented skin can reduce our bodies production of this vitamin.

Vitamin D helps a number of bodily functions. It helps regulate calcium metabolism and normal calcification of the bones.  Ladies, this is especially important for us, as we get older, since the most we can do after a certain age is maintain our bone integrity.  Vitamin D helps increase the absorption of calcium from the gut, decrease excretion from the kidneys (thats right, we loose it through excretion), can stimulate re-absorption of calcium and phosphorus from bone, and support minerals in teeth. On the other hand, if D is low, blood levels of calcium and phosphorous decrease, our body will pull those minerals from the bones, creating weak, demineralized bones.  Blood calcium is very important in connection with the parathyroid glands. If you have further questions regarding this, it's best to see your holistic nutritional consultant for advise.

If you are currently taking a calcium vitamin without vitamin D3, it's probably not doing you much good unless you get a lot of sun which can also have it's cons. So what's the ideal bone support? Calcium and magnesium, which should be taken in a 2:1 ratio, with vitamin D together, is probably the best. Typically you can buy a cal/mag supplement and it will come in the right ratio. Often, it will include vitamin D, making it an easy supplement to add to your regime.

A-to-the-D. One final point. This is a topic on it's own, but you can pick up an amazing Weston. A. Price book for an in depth explanation as to why. Just to put it simply though, Vitamin D is best utilized by the body with vitamin A.  They are both fat-soluble vitamins that work synergistically together. They long for each other. Vitamin A food sources include, but are not limited to; high quality fish oils, good quality dairy products if tolerated (if not tolerated, perhaps fermented versions of dairy). Green and yellow fruit and veggies are the best sources of beta carotene (the water soluble co-factor). If your liver is healthy, it will have the ability to convert beta carotene into the active form of vitamin A (retinol).

Do the D. Get ample, safe exposure to sun, and supplement if necessary. Always consult your health practitioner before doing so. Love your liver, so that it can love you back, and have a bright, bright sunshiny day!

A-Z HEALTH

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CHLORELLA

C is for chlorella. At least for all intents and purposes right now.

Have you gotten your hands on some yet? You should. The health benefits are off the hook. It's virtually a complete food with the highest level of chlorophyll per ounce than any other plant, as well as protein (it's actually 58% protein-that's more than you'll find in meat!) and carbs. It contains all of the B vitamins, and vitamins C, E, and amino acids (amino acids are the building blocks of protein), high enzyme content to assist in your digesting food, and some rare trace minerals that are hard to obtain from the diet. It contains more B12 than liver, and has a good amount of beta-carotene.

What do all of these nutrients mean? It means that it will strengthen the immune system, promote healthy bowels and digestion because it adds to the "good" bacteria in the gut, aid in detoxing the body, help to alleviate ulcers, fight general infection, support cardiovascular health, give you healthy glowing skin, and even help to build and maintain muscle. This green beauty also helps to counteract fatigue and mood swings associated with PMS.

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What should you do with it? First, because chlorella is potent and very effective for some of it's uses, consult your doctor to ensure there are no contraindications with any medications or conditions you may have.

Use it as your "love" ingredient. Add it to smoothies and juices. Start with small doses, keeping in mind it's "cleansing" effect, and let this powerhouse green superfood balance your body, and your heart chakra!

XO

Author: Lise Johnson

[Recipe] : Detox Turmeric Soup

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As the weather cools down and the daylight gets shorter - a big bowl of delicious soup always feels like a good idea.

This recipe is not only full of naturally cleansing veggies - but also adds in the powerhouse of turmeric to fight inflammation and a flavourful punch!

INGREDIENTS 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 onion, diced 1 medium carrot, finely chopped 2 stalks celery, finely chopped 1 tablespoon McCormick Ground Turmeric 2 teaspoons garlic, minced (about 4 cloves) ½ teaspoon ground ginger ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper 1 32-ounce carton vegetable broth 3-4 cups water 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste ½ teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste 3 cups cauliflower florets, chopped 1 15-ounce can Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed 1 bunch kale, chopped 1 7-ounce package shirataki noodles, drained*

INSTRUCTIONS

In a large saucepan or pot over medium-low, warm oil.

Add onion; stir. Cook for 5-7 minutes, until the onions begin to brown.

Add carrots and celery; cook for 3-5 more minutes, until the vegetables soften.

Add turmeric, garlic, ginger, and cayenne; stir until the vegetables are coated. Cook for 1 minute, until fragrant.

Add broth, water, salt, and pepper; stir. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low.

Add cauliflower. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until cauliflower is tender.

When the cauliflower is fork tender, add beans, kale, and noodles.

Cook until the kale is slightly wilted.

Serve hot.

Curl up under a blanket & enjoy....

A-Z HEALTH

B IS FOR BEET

{THE MIGHTY BEET}

This beautiful, starchy root, who's greens are delicious and nutritious, is earthy, versatile and stunning just to look at. Beet greens are particularly high in vitamin A, iron and calcium. They can be eaten in salads, juiced, cooked with or used as wraps. Because they are rich in carotenes, they are supportive to healthy glowing skin. They increase the body's alkalinity and improve liver function as well as help correct problems related to bile flow. (Bile is needed to help emulsify fats.) The beet root itself, is richest in iron, potassium, niacin, copper and vitamin C, with other nutrients present in smaller amounts. Beets have a cleansing effect on the liver and is supportive to the stomach and intestines. They aid digestion and the lymphatic system to flush out toxins. The provide clean burning energy and help build red blood cells! From borsht to juice, salads to beet kvass or purreed beet hummus, the possibilities with beets are endless! Love those beets, and they'l love you back. Your liver, immune system, digestion, skin and more will thank you. I promise!

-Lise Johnson

A-Z HEALTH

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"A" is for apple.

The apple. A common household staple, and a notable whole food. Apples can be somewhat underestimated in their nutritional value, and are sometimes slandered because they are on the list of produce with heavy pesticide residues. Just another reason to support local farmers and markets, and get to know what is on your food, right?  If your apples are waxed, better to remove the skin. Otherwise, find organic and chemical free whenever possible.

An apple a day, eaten with the skin has nearly 17 percent of the daily recommended amount of dietary fiber! They reduce inflammation and promote overall healthy in the intestinal tract.

They phytochemical found in apples called quercetin has strong immune and anti-inflammatory properties. Apples can help detoxify metals in the body, clean the bladder, lower blood cholesterol, blood pressure and stabilize blood sugar. They also support healthy glowing skin!

Apples contain vitamin C, some B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, zinc, and more.

Right now, some folks may be finished the last of their apples from the early fall harvest. Others may have an abundance of them. Don't let them go to waste. Eat them whole, juice them, bake with them, ferment them with your kraut! Make apple buttuh. Get creative!

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How' you like them apples?

{Check out the clean fifteen and the dirty dozen for an up to date list of produce that will indicate which fruits/veggies are best bought organic, or safe to eat even when they are not.}