Anyone who knows me well knows that I do not conform to trends. I like what I like and it often takes me a long time to pick up a trend (especially if it is technology). This isn’t the same in practice, I love to research and stay on top of the latest things. But in my personal life, when I find something I like, I hold on to it for a while! I’ve compiled a list of things I am “supposed to love” and why I don’t as well as things I do love that others don’t love and why I do. I would love to hear about some of the things you can’t live without!

Things I am “Supposed” to Love: 

  • Meat: I have not eaten meat for 25 years. As a teenager most people thought this was a phase. My mom knew better. Even as a baby I did not love the taste and texture of meat. To eat meat or not to eat meat is a controversial topic. There are many arguments for vegans and vegetarians and just as many for Paleo and Keto. My approach is simple. It doesn’t make me feel good, I dislike the texture and don’t enjoy eating it. So I don’t. I thrive when I don’t eat meat, I encourage you to figure out what types of food make you thrive and to eat them. I don’t expect all of my patients to be a vegetarian, but I do want everyone to eat lots of plants! Whether or not you eat meat or legumes is up to you and your body. Pay attention to it. 
  • Salads All Year Long: I love a good salad, so does my family. But I do not eat salads in the winter. Except maybe the kale salad at Envie, a restaurant in Halifax. In Traditional Chinese Medicine when the weather is cooler we should eat cooked, warm food and when the weather is warmer we should eat cool, raw food. In the winter, when we eat a salad our body is already cold. The salad makes it cooler and we need to expend more energy to heat up and digest it. I have always thrived on cooked food, even in the summer. I eat my veggies roasted or slightly stifried. I will often pair quinoa with my raw salad for a cooked and a raw element. This is another take on the individual approach, do what makes you feel good. As long as you eat veggies, the format is up to you. 
  • Chamomile Tea: Chamomile is known for reducing anxiety, calming the nervous system and inducing sleep. It is a wonder flower and could also support the digestive system, protect against types of cancer, help with blood sugar control and support heart health. I don’t dispute these facts, but to me chamomile tastes like soap! Instead I would choose hibiscus (heart health and antioxidants), peppermint (digestive), green tea (blood sugar support, antioxidants, anxiety lowering) and linden flower (sleep support, lowers anxiety). 
  • Yoga: I am the person who NEEDS yoga. I have too much on my mind at all times and I find it hard to quiet it. I am always thinking about the other things that I “should” be doing. In January I do the Yoga with Adrienne 30 day challenge and my husband says he can see the wheels turning while I am doing it. I know the benefits for my mind and body but I have a hard time doing it. Instead I compromise. I do Body Flow at least once a week at GoodLife. It is a combo of Tai Chi, Yoga and Pilates but it is set to music (often with words) and faster paced with a 10 minute meditation at the end. I still aim to integrate yoga into my life, I feel that shifting how I view my time and how I spend it so that I experience less stress will be better for my health. I encourage you to test out yoga, Pilates, tai chi or Qi Gong as a way to move energy in your body and decrease the load on your nervous system. 
  • Coffee: I worked at Tim Horton’s through high school and my undergraduate degree and we used to joke that I absorbed the caffeine through my pores, I was so wired when I got home from a shift. While caffeine causes me to not sleep, I also don’t enjoy the taste of coffee. Instead I drink herbal teas, chicory root and Dandelion root tea. Many people come to see me expecting me to take them off of coffee. Usually we make a few modifications but rarely do I take patients fully off coffee. Here’s what I suggest: drink your last cup before 10am. Then it doesn’t have as much of an effect on your cortisol and energy. Drink 3 cups of water for every cup of coffee (at least). Then you won’t be dehydrated. Try not to add too much cream and sugar (or source alternative products). Try not to rely on coffee for energy or a bowel movement. If this is the case then there are other things in your body that we should address. 
  • Social Media: It’s all the rage! It took me a long time to get a Facebook account. I now enjoy the posts and the interactions but have to admit I’m not all that good at it. I’m not on my phone enough for Twitter! I do enjoy instagram but I doubt I will ever have a curated feed. I truly make it “insta”, posting without proper lighting and when it is convenient for me. I enjoy it for myself, I get book recommendations and new websites/blogs/products to look into. I keep my account going for recipe inspiration and to hopefully give a glimpse into what it is like to live a healthy lifestyle. 

Things I Love that Not Everyone Else Does: 

  • Cilantro: to some, this tastes like soap! My best friend is included in that. I once made a lasagna from the Rebar Cookbook (it’s a restaurant in Victoria) that had a layer of cilantro pesto and I thought she was going to spit it out! I love how fresh it makes everything taste and put it in my salsa and Mexican food as well as my salads and stir-fries. It mixes well in pesto with basil. It binds to heavy metals and flushes them out of your system so there are great health benefits too. 
  • Organizing: I loved “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up”. My house is cluttered, it’s small and we have 2 kids with their stuff. So to look at it, it wouldn’t look like I love organizing but I do. I find that I do things in stages though. I will get rid of a bunch of things (pass them on or donate if I can) but go back a year later and be able to get rid of more. My wardrobe is finally where I want it! I love to organize (and declutter) my belongings but also my life. For the last 5 years I have a number of to do lists, one for home/family, work, teaching and volunteering. I keep them all on the same piece of paper and each week I pull off what really needs to get done on each one. This won’t work for everyone but it helps things flow for me. The more organized something is, the clearer I feel about my priorities and I get more done! 

For more information on different styles try Do Less, by Kate Northrop or The 7 Habits of highly effective people by Steven Covey

  • Mushroom Hot Chocolate: This one sounds funny, I know. In school we were taught about medicinal mushrooms and that they could help to treat cancer in adjunction with other things. But over the last 15 years the research surrounding these products has soared. Each mushroom has multiple actions and they can improve brain health (regularly as well as after a concussion), support the stomach healing, boost energy and endurance, improve stamina for athletes (and anyone!), support the immune system and so many more things. They are available in capsule form but I also order from a company called Four Sigmatic. Their reishi hot chocolate is what I use when I want to wind down or have extra immune support. I use the cordyceps hot chocolate if I want a boost in my day (I’m sensitive to caffeine and this doesn’t affect me in that way at all). There are many other options too. The hot chocolate tastes good but you can add things to it as well. Some of the straight powders need something added! If you aren’t sure which mushroom is right for you and you want to find out, please come in to chat. 
  • Dandelion Root Tea: As I mentioned, this is what I go to instead of coffee. I learned about it as a “coffee substitute” but that is a misnomer. It has an earthy taste but true coffee drinkers won’t agree that it tastes like coffee. The benefits of dandelion root tea include liver support, immune support, kidney support and it counts as water because it is a herbal tea! I drink it plain or with coconut milk and a little honey if I have it on hand. I will often brew a cup and let it cool (or store it for the next day) and put it in my smoothie or elixir. My favourite brand is Traditional Medicinals, which you can get at Superstore. 
  • Beets: I grew up with my Nan’s pickled beets and I never liked them. It was the vinegar. So I thought I didn’t like beets. Then in naturopathic school I was introduced to grating them in a salad. So good! When I moved away from eating so much raw food into more cooked food I started roasting my beets. They become sweeter and have a deeper flavour. I love to eat them as part of a salad or in a protein bowl (rice, nuts and seeds, roasted veggies and a sauce). Golden beets are just as good as regular beets. Beets are one of the best foods you can consume for your liver and kidneys and they are available most of the year. They also let you know what your transit time is. After having a large amount of beets watch for your stool to turn pink, that is how long it is taking your system to process things. If you have them for supper the color should change the next morning. RECIPE 
  • Beans and lentils: I decided to stop eating meat when I was 13 because I didn’t feel when when I ate it. It wasn’t a phase! At the time I strongly disliked beans and lentils though so I got sick very quickly without enough protein to eat. I learned to love beans and lentils (and tofu) by figuring out ways to cook them so I liked them. Texture is a big deal for me. I love lentil chilli, dal, chickpeas in anything, refrained beans and pan fried tofu. The type of fibre these foods offer is essential to toxin removal and proper fibre intake. If you find them hard on your system cook them in a pressure cooker (like the instant pot) or purchase Eden Foods brand (they are already pressure cooked). Check out our website for some recipes! 
  • Climbing Mountains and being active. If I have the choice between watching tv and getting outside or doing some type of movement, I will choose movement every time. I feel better when I move, physically, mentally and emotionally. Even if I am tired at the end of a day, a walk will make me feel better. I tend to make it to the gym for classes (weight and BodyFlow) 3 times a week and I walk most days. But it doesn’t have to be the gym. It is what works for me, with kids and a business because I can fit it into my schedule. I’m craving more of the one-off activities though. I want to hike and climb more mountains but because of the time commitment it just isn’t feasible right now. I’ll do that more when the kids want nothing to do with me! Things I would love to try or do more of also include stand up paddle boarding (SUP), kayaking or canoeing, heading to On Tree (high ropes), playing squash or badminton, tennis (I’m terrible but would love to learn!), swimming (lots of this in the ocean in the summer), surfing and I’m sure there are more. Pick something and try it, you might LOVE it and want to do it all of the time. What is an activity that I missed that I should try?