health

A-Z HEALTH

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H-H-HAZELNUTS

hazelnuts

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.

The Truth About Nail Polish

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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]

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]

 

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!

#ESMEINK : "Culture" Day 21

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{ CULTURE } 

When I talk about culture, many things come to mind. Ethnicity, food, travel, etc. But today I dive into my love for fermentation (culturing).

What I think I love the most, is the representation that fermenting has to cultures around the world.

So many cultures have used fermentation practices around the world for years and years.

Actually, the word 'culture' comes from the Latin language, and means to 'cultivate.'

The cultivation of our land-animals, plants, fungi, bacteria, etc is pretty important-maybe even essential-to culture.

Sandor Katz,-a world renowned fermenter and author- puts it all into perspective, and I believe he is right when he says that taking back our dignity and power by becoming creators and producers of food from the earth, rather than depending on commercialization is key to thriving and surviving. It's also crucial to keep culture alive.

The further away we get from creating our own food, the more we lose culture. We lose interaction with other humans. We miss the sharing experience of creating something beautiful. Not just a meal,-I mean we lose out on relationships. The sit down meal with family and/or guests.

We need to slow down. Grow food, grow our souls. Create bountiful meals full of whole foods and nutrients. We need to thrive. It's all our bodies really want to do. We need to uphold traditions so that our children, and their children can not just survive, but thrive as well.

Learning from elders around the globe, and continuing to uphold traditions and food preservation techniques are really a big deal!

The moment I learned that our healthy bacteria outnumber the cells containing our DNA by 10 times, (and most of that is found in our intestinal tract), made me realize how important gut health really was. Gut health is such a large topic these days, and I understand why.

I've become very passionate and creative with fermentation lately, and I feel the urge to share this knowledge with others because it's so freakin' exciting!

I learn more every day. Each food is so unique in the fermenting process. I could talk about all of the characteristics I like about ferments, from kombucha, to kvass, kraut, meads, and everything in between, but I think my favourite part of fermenting, its truly the culture of it. Obviously.

I can't wait to grow more knowledgable and healthy, with fermentation and culture being a driving force.

So I say, lets stand up for what we believe in as humans. Support local food, and grow our own. take back control of our lives. The need to be responsible for our well-being is more important now more than ever.

#ESMEINK Journal Entry by Lise-Marie Johnson

#ESMEINK : "Sleep Habits" Day 19

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SLEEP

I've always been a bit of a night owl.

Going to bed early, to me, makes me feel like I'm going to miss something. I have such clarity in the evenings. I'm kid free in the evenings. It's quiet. Peaceful. I think I've developed a bit of a bad habit, and I'm starting to feel the effects.

I've not only noticed how tired I feel lately, but I've had troubles with weight gain-and bouts of anxiety-even though I'm meditating, and grounding as much as possible.

My nervous system is stressed, due to lack of sleep, causing me to feel this anxiety. It's Raised my cortisol levels causing my body to store excess weight. I'm feeling physically not myself, and so i'm forced to really evaluate my sleeping patterns-which is something I have avoided for a long time.

How patient I am, or am not with my kids is also a factor in my lack of sleep. I can't do my best when I'm exhausted. I can't be the best mom that I know how to be if I continue down this path.

{old habits}

I go to bed between 11 and 12pm. For lots of people, this doesn't seem late. But when I'm woken by a sweet girl, who crawls into my bed, and rubs my cheek with her hand, and runs her fingers through my hair, and kisses my cheeks and nose and says "I love you mommy," EVERY morning at 630am, I feel unconditionally loved, and unbelievably exhausted.

While the pure joy of her love never gets old, I want to wake feeling more refreshed, not feeling like I need to lay in bed for another hour before I start my day.

I know my husband doesn't like that most nights I'll stay awake downstairs to clean up, or watch a show, or journal, because I'm not ready to go to bed. I could absolutely fall asleep, but for some reason I'm just not ready to end the day.

"Your future depends on your dreams, so go to sleep."

-Mesut Barasany

{new patterns}

I've always wanted to be up before the kids to either do yoga, meditate, and have myself a healthy breakfast and coffee before the kids wake up. Maybe even get a quick journal done. Maybe start running, or do a workout. Quality self love. Something I talk about almost every day lately. I know I'd feel better throughout the day if I did. I know, because I've done it enough times to count on one hand. It was epic. Every time. But i've never been able to get into the groove.

I think It's time for me to just start building a new pattern. I need to make my self a "bed time." I'll have to make sure that I have done whatever it is that I need to do before that time.

I'll set aside 3 days of the week to begin, when I wake up at 530 to take time for myself before the kids wake up.

I will watch the sunrise in silent. I will find more peace. I will feel better. I will discipline myself, and become a better version of me.

"Early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise."

-Benjamin Franklin

#ESMEINK Journal Entry by Lise-Marie Johnson

#ESMEINK : "Reflecting on Love" Day 15

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Today Stacy and I are celebrating our 3rd wedding anniversary. We have been together for 7 years!

What is marriage? What should it look like?

Truth, I think there is no model. I think it's based on so many things. I think every single marriage in this world looks different. But I also know, I love the way mine looks.

How well I am able to love my husband, is a direct reflection on how well I love myself. In a relationship it's so important to love one's self. That might mean healing wounds from a past relationships. Healing from a form of abuse. Maybe releasing/healing insecurities. Being true to who I am, and not moulding into what I think someone wants me to be. Discovering who I am continually, having someone accept that, and be willing to join him on his journey. Self love has been a work in progress for me lately, opening up new boxes. Really taking time for me. It means that I've put a little less focus on him. I know he feels it, but I also know he's not concerned because we talk about what I'm going through. He listens. He cares. We are both ever changing, and growing on our own as individuals. We love watching each other grow. It's beautiful. I can't wait for the next big thing for him. He's capable of such great things, and touching peoples lives. He pours more passion into everything he commits to, than any one I've ever met.

Inspiration. I've found it in Stacy. He's not afraid to try anything. From jumping off of a building on a movie set, to sleeping under the starts out in the wild chasing sasquatch, he won't let anything get in his way. Not judgement. Not fear. Not physical set backs. If he wants it, he gets it. Isn't that a great way to live?

Believing in someone. And knowing they believe in you too. His words infuse confidence in me. He believes in me. Truly. He pushes me forward when I have an idea. His support is always there, 100% of the time. And It' reciprocated.

Laughter is honestly, is what first attracted me to him. I've never laughed so hard in my life. Daily! It's so good for the soul.

Lovers first. We are always lovers first. When we are not lovers, we are best of friends. knowing that I have a best friend to come home to at the end of every day makes life easy. I'm not worried about coming home and being judged, shamed, feeling like a live in a space that's not mine or ours. It's pure freedom.

Vulnerability. Being able to open my heart and wholly let him in is the most vulnerable thing I've ever done. At first, this was a challenge. I was falling in love so fast, and I was scared. There had been past relationships that caused lots of heartache, and I needed recovery and healing from them. I've been able to do that because he earned my trust, and we have gone down the path of healing together. For that I am blessed.

So marriage, to me, is knowing there is always time for self love. Having someone who inspires and challenges me to become my greater self. It's having a lover, and a best friend. It's having an unbreakable support system that at times, may crack a little, but those are just symbolic of the challenges we overcome. Worlds colliding. Different belief systems that are instilled upon two individuals, coming together and tying to figure out how to exist together-and separately. It's beautiful, and hard, and beautiful again. It's so much more, than I ever could have imagined. It's so different that the picture I always had in my head. That, to me, is true love!

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{VOW}

I will love you without judgement because you do the same for me. I will love you for who you grow to become because you love me through my growth. I promise to always give you freedom. Thank you for mine. Growing older with you is fun, and I vow to continue to keep it that way. I will always try to inspire you. Because you inspire me, to be the higher me. I will challenge you. In life, love, friendship and spirituality. I will rise to your challenges too. We've gotten through some of the toughest challenges. We find the lessons. We find the messages. The message that stands out the most, is that LOVE can heal all things. Love is strong. I still DO.

#ESMEINK Journal Entry by Lise-Marie Johnson

#ESMEINK :"Being Quiet + Letting Go " Day 14

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Today I feel there are not many words. I'm a bit stuck picking a topic, and nothing has outright slapped me in the face to inspire me like in the past week. So I leave it short and sweet today, simply checking in with my self. And I feel content. Happy. Somewhat more grounded and calm. I'm grateful. I'm at peace.

{PEACE.} It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, hard work, chaos, hardship, struggle, etc… It means to be in the midst of all of those things and still find calm in your heart.

{Lise-Marie Johnson}

....Hi, I'm Bekah Glass - and I write and manage this beautiful blog for Esme.

Along this #ESMEINK journey with Lise - each and every time I receive her journal entries - I am not only captured by her vulnerability - but also encouraged to share my own truth. There is such freedom in sharing ourselves with others - the victories, defeat, and grey confusing areas of every day life. I have felt the kind push of my heart and soul to begin sharing my own stories with you...and although today - Lise found a blockage in her writing ... I wanted to jump in and add on to her above journal entry...I may ramble, but hopefully i somewhat make sense...

In the midst of the chaos of life - quieting ourselves is one of the most powerful tools we hold control over. I grew up learning scripture in the southern US - the "bible belt" - and although I feel I've veered off the path of rigidness within religion- I still find life-giving truths from the things I've learned along the way. One of my favourite verses as a young adult was Psalm 46:10:

"Be STILL and KNOW that I am God."  

I have always struggled with the voices that surround me. I have found significance in others approval of me and great sensitivity towards negativity and judgement. The reason I always loved this scripture was because it calmed me - it reminded me to stop, regain perspective, block the voices of others, and be silent. However, recently I learned that the Hebrew meaning of this scripture actually does not mean to "BE QUIET" - but to "LET GO"...  this changed everything for me.

I am currently in battle with letting go of so many things - my past, my mistakes, who others EXPECT me to be, and who I MYSELF have expected to become.

Letting go is not losing your voice, goals, or heart ... it is simply granting yourself a little more grace.

Grace is one thing we all need to give freely with zero restraint...

especially to ourselves. 

So - stop, be still, have real conversations with your heart - ask yourself the tough, piercing questions... but also let go of the HINDERING energy, expectations...the PRESSURE. When we step into the space of allowing ourselves freedom to be quiet and explore - we cultivate vulnerability and get to know our own hearts.

Never quiet the longings within yourself - but try to let go of the pressure and restraint. Allow yourself to wander, learn, be curious...and also figure out what is best to release the power & control over ....to LET GO OF...we tend to find these answers in the quiet moments we spend with ourselves.

Let go and dive into yourself. Unrelentingly. Passionately. Unapologetically.

We invite you to join along with us in this personal journey of pouring out - we want to learn with you. A tribe of others that seek truth, personal growth, and new lessons - is such a beautiful group to be apart of....Please share your stories, struggles, and triumphs with us.

xo.

#ESMEINK Journal Entry by Bekah Davis Glass & Lise-Marie Johnson

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#ESMEINK : "Change" Day 11

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progressCHANGE

{name it so you can change it}

I thought naming what sucks was a good topic on it's own. So, today I'm going to name it to change it again.

To say that trying to be a mom with a career is hard, would be an understatement. If i'm being honest, some days I want to throw in the towel. I think part of it is the age of my kids. They require lots of attention, love and teaching, and are not in school full time. Another part of it is time management. I know I could definitely do better in this area. I love being a mom. Wouldn't wish for my life to be any different. I only wish for strength and wisdom to do it better. I feel the same way about my career.

{symmetry}

Finding balance in all things in life, is an ongoing process. Juggling family and career is just one of them. When I put too much effort into one, the other suffers. Sometimes my mood determines which one I exercise my focus on.

I know the key to maintaining balance, is knowing when I've lost it. Paying attention to symmetry in my life. Putting all of my eggs in one basket, could be described as a bit extreme. But I want the best of both worlds. I want to be the best at everything I do. It's in my nature.

I am learning for sure, that taking time to live life-like, really LIVE, will only inspire my work. So maybe that's just where I should put more focus.

Also, I have to remind myself, it's okay to turn work off to live the life you dream of.

I think all I can do is be my best at whatever is is that I'm doing at the present moment.

#ESMEINK Journal Entry by Lise-Marie Johnson

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#ESMEINK : "Healthy Mind, Healthy Body" Day 7

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{HEALTHY MIND, HEALTHY BODY}

"Caring for the mind is as important and crucial as caring for the body. In fact, one cannot be without the other." -Unknown

Being "healthy" generally has a large emphasis on food and exercise. Often, what's forgotten is state of mind. There is, a definite balance between the three. For myself, when one of those is out of balance, I generally fall apart in some way or another. Sometimes for a day, sometimes longer.

This past year, I had to let go of some anxiety relating to food, to ease my mind.

While I was in school studying holistic nutrition, I became increasingly afraid of making the wrong choices when it came to food. Is it a whole food? Are there ingredients, and what are they? Sugar is poison, is the food I buy ethical and humane? Am I supporting local? Am I deficient in nutrients, what are my symptoms? The questions were endless, and they haunted me. These thoughts and questions built and built, and the worry for my children and husband were present too.

Why, having all of this new, amazing information, did I feel more worried than ever? I would think that being empowered to make the best food choices should put me at ease. Isn't knowledge power? It didn't' feel that way.

I started to feel anxiety for the first time in my life. I had no idea where it was coming from until I self-evaluated. I first began looking at other symptoms I had, and there were none, other than that, and exhaustion. So I realized I needed to support my adrenals. I needed to focus more on exercise, and less about the food.

Finally, it clicked. I was so consumed with how my choices of food would do me right or wrong, that I'm sure I manifested unnecessary stress, affecting my nervous system and adrenals.

I Truly beleive that constant worry or fear can manifest health problems. Our biography can become our biology. In other words,- when thoughts, beliefs or fears are thought about consistently enough, they create physical pathways in the brain, and can have an effect on our health at some point. However, just as these thoughts are created, they can also be addressed and changed. It's all the power of the mind, and the willingness to change.

My state of mind, has had a physical effect on my body. It does for anyone, when the situation allows. I need to listen to my body, but more importantly, I need to let go of fear.

We live in a world where food is plentiful. We have more food than we need. We have more choices than ever.

I know how to make choices that are right for my family and I. I just need to simplify. I've been working on meditation. Releasing fears.

I focus on how blessed we are to have the freedom to make choices. I will say YES to pizza. I will enjoy the slowness of food. Growing, harvesting, creating, sharing food.

Our culture has gotten so far away from the true pleasure of a meal; the experience. Who we eat with can bring us joy. Preparing a meal is so satisfying, especially when feeding others. It's so much more than just what's on the fork, and it's that thought that brings me satisfaction and peace. Besides, don't I have better things to worry about?

{MANTRA}

By experiencing the joy, and culture of food, I release fear, and take on peace

#ESMEINK Journal Entry by Lise-Marie Johnson

Superfoods for Better Sleep

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Sleep is said to be one of the very most important things we should be intentional and steadfast in - for our health, mood, and even our looks! But - it's probably something that a majority of us struggle to make a priority. There's just ALWAYS something else to accomplish, someone to respond to, or a list to make to keep us just as busy the next day.

On a recent WELL+GOOD post -  Jason Wrobel, a longevity-obsessed raw vegan chef with his own TV show on The Cooking Channel and a roster of celeb fans (think Woody Harrelson and Robin Wright) - shares a list of superfoods that aid in our ability to shut down, relax, and get those VERY MUCH needed zzz's. Here are a few off his list & his reason for suggesting each food:

1. ALMONDS

Almonds

“Almonds are high in potassium and B vitamins, which help our nervous systems to relax,” says Wrobel. His super-sleep snack tip? Spread some almond butter on toast with banana slices (another sleep all-star)—no need to count sheep when your head hits the pillow.

2. CHERRIES

Cherries

Cherries allow the body to release melatonin, which Wrobel calls “the body clock hormone” because it promotes a cycle of falling asleep and waking up naturally. As in, the fruit will help you recalibrate the body when you’re dealing with a bout of jet lag.

3. KALE

Kale

Need some more convincing to pile your plate with kale? “Magnesium deficiency is a major cause of insomnia,” warns Wrobel, adding that many Americans don’t get enough magnesium. Good thing this dark, leafy green is packed with the mineral. Yet another reason to throw some kale in to your daily smoothie.

4. CHICKPEAS

Chickpeas

Your sleep cycle’s new best friend? B vitamins. “Chickpeas boast vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin,” Wrobel notes, highlighting the legume’s deep sleep-inducing qualities. Munching on chickpeas throughout the day will help your body and your nervous system relax come bedtime, too.

See the rest of the list HERE!

P.S. Go to bed EARLY tonight...just try it!

[images via WELL+GOOD]

 

[Recipe] : Garden Veggie Summer Rolls

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We're always looking for fresh recipes packed full of veggies AND flavour! Today's recipe comes from This Rawsom Vegan Life:

SUMMER ROLLS w/ GARDEN VEGGIES, BASIL + TAHINI CHILI SAUCE

Tahini chili sauce: 2 tablespoons tahini 1 garlic clove 1 teaspoon chunk fresh ginger 1 tablespoon miso paste 1 tablespoon sauerkraut 1 tablespoon coconut sugar 2 tablespoons lime juice 1-2 tablespoons dried deseeded red chili skin, or more, as desired Water, as needed

Rice papers

Filling: 1 red beet, shredded 3 carrots, shredded 3-4 tomatoes, sliced 1/2 cup basil leaves 1/4 cup mint leaves 1/4 cup cilantro leaves Whatever else your heart desires

To make the sauce: blend everything together until smooth. Adjust according to your taste preferences, and add as much water as needed to get a creamy consistency.

To make the wraps: dip a rice paper sheet in cold water for 5 seconds, then lay it flat on a damp cloth and let sit for 15 seconds while you fill it up with your goodies. Fold the skin on one side over and wrap under the fillings, then wrap up like a burrito. Hope that made enough sense.

Dip it and enjoy!

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[Recipe] : Cilantro & Lime Detox Smoothie

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I am constantly looking for new healthy smoothie recipes...because I - personally - am not a huge smoothie lover. However, I wish so badly that I was. They are jam-packed with healthy & nutritional ingredients & I don't know about you - but I love the idea of covering a lot of bases with one big gulp.  Whether you enjoy it after a workout, as a snack or as a detox tool - this recipe from Elena of "As Easy as Apple Pie"  is packed FULL of healthy & delicious goodness.

Here are some of her notes that sold me on this one:

Cilantro (coriander) binds to heavy metals and helps remove them from your body. Lime juice helps to cleanse and detox your liver. Ginger is a fantastic digestive aid, proper digestion is important for elimination of toxins.

Not only does this smoothie helps you detox, it’s also loaded with nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Based on rough calculations, it has 70 calories and it’s very high in dietary fibers, manganese, Vitamin A, C and B6.

Since mango is very sweet, there is no need to add extra sugar.

The combination of lime, cilantro and ginger gives this smoothie a refreshing zing.

Cilantro-Green-Smoothie-ingredients

INGREDIENTS

160 ml (2/3 cup) water, cold 30 grams (1 cup packed) baby spinach 10 grams (1/4 cup packed) fresh cilantro leaves 1 small mango, peeled,cored and diced 1 green apple, cored and sliced (but not peeled) the juice of 1 lime 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated 1 teaspoon chia powder

INSTRUCTIONS

Blend the baby spinach, cilantro and water until smooth. Add the mango, apple, lime juice, ginger and blend again. Pour it into a glass and sprinkle some chia powder on top before serving.

Enjoy your detox green smoothie!

[AUTHOR : Bekah Glass]