featured

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...

Skin Smarts for Crazy Winter Days

Skin Smarts for Crazy Winter Days

Apparently the relative humidity of Calgary is less than that of the Sahara Desert, which actually means that Calgary is sometimes drier that the Sahara Desert. Add that to winter temperatures in the -20’s and -30’s PLUS a potential wind-chill factor taking it close to the -40’s...

Getting Ready For a New Year, Part 4 Do a Look-Toward

Getting Ready For a New Year, Part 4                 Do a Look-Toward

Make a decision about the direction you want to take your life in this year. Look toward that. If the choices that worked in the past are supporting you in creating your kick-ass life, keep making them. Tweak as you go along. If not, make new choices instead of attempting to fix...

Getting Ready for a New Year, Part 1 Do a Look-Back

Getting Ready for a New Year, Part 1                    Do a Look-Back

Every December I take time to honour my last year life (2017 this time) and take an active part in creating the next version (2018 woo hoo) . This requires some introspection and note taking/writing and it is fun, illuminating and well worth the effort...

10 Tips for Beautiful Skin

beauty-food.jpg

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

The Truth About Nail Polish

screen-shot-2017-04-01-at-1-31-30-pm.png

So what's the real truth about nail polish? I used to think that since polish is applied topically on the nail, the chemicals in the polish wouldn't have much impact on my health. But, the research I've been doing has taught me otherwise. In fact, the research suggests that our bodies absorb chemicals & toxins through our nails (check out this article here). That means, we must be mindful about the products that we are putting on our nails, fingers and toes.

There are some toxic & harmful chemicals found in nail polish that we at Esme recommend you steer clear of. Better to be safe, right? From what I can find, here's the low-down on the three most harmful ingredients found in conventional nail polishes:

  1. Formaldehyde & Formaldehyde Resin: You may remember from high-school biology, formaldehyde is the chemical compound used to preserve dead bodies. Do you really want that on your nails or anywhere near your beautiful body? Formaldehyde is often added to nail polishes because of how it can help strengthen and harden the nail. But, keep in mind that formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen, meaning there is research and evidence that it is directly related to causing cancer. No thanks!
  2. Toluene: The purpose of toluene in nail polish is to improve the look of a smooth finish across the nail (and it helps to prevent pigment separation in the bottle). Watch out, when exposed to toluene in the air we breath, it can cause irritation, can affect the nervous system and can cause reproductive harm & fertility issues.
  3. Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP): DBP is used in nail polish for added flexibility and fluidity. But DBP is very harmful and is connected to cancer and birth defects.

When choosing your polish, you also want to watch out for a chemical called camphor. Camphor is a highly flammable poison that covers your nails and deprives absorption of nutrients. Plus, some research suggests that, in large quantities, camphor can cause seizures and disorientation. Our advice? Be cautious and say no to any polish with formaldehyde, toluene, DBP and camphor.

With all of this being said, it is important to remember to be consistently mindful of what you are putting on your skin & nails. At Esme, we are confident that the polishes we use are as natural as possible and free from harmful chemicals. Here are some options for our favourite brands (and the ones we use here at Esme):

Click here to book your next mani/pedi at Esme Beautiful. We can't wait to see you!

[AUTHOR: BECCA CORNWALL]

EAT FAT!

whipped-coconut-cream.jpg

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

chlorella-cover.jpg

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.

chlorella

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