Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Discover One Of The Best Ways To Destress (And It's Free)

Health and wellness trends get so hyped up in the media. There is always some new hot product that promises to "change your life". Well my philosophy is to keep things simple and balanced. Mother Nature put everything we need on earth to not only survive but to THRIVE. Some of these basics include clean drinking water, nutrient dense sources of food including plants and animals, trees for shelter, fresh air to breathe and warm sunshine to energize our bodies. We really need to mindfully protect and sustain these precious and vital resources, so that we can all live a healthy and happy life now, and for endless generations to come.

There is a lot of stress in this modern world both on our minds, on our bodies and on the environment. A persons stress is a survival mechanism, you may have heard of being in "fight or flight" mode!? Well this was designed for being a temporary response to danger. But now, with the combination of a fast paced life, technology making us accessible 24/7, big work loads and responsibilities, processed and conventional food consumption, toxins and pollution, and lack of sleep and self care... we are in such a constant state of stress / "fight or flight" mode that we are quickly becoming very unhealthy, unhappy and exhausted.  This clearly is not ideal or sustainable.    

By far my favorite way to destress naturally and without having to spend hundreds of dollars on a therapist, day spa or retreat, is to immerse myself in nature on a daily basis. Just like making time to sleep, eat or workout, we need to prioritize engaging our senses with the therapeutic qualities of the great outdoors. Here are my favorite ways to do this no matter who you are or where you live:

- Wake up with the sun and eat breakfast while soaking up its feel good rays

- Sink your feet into the grass of your garden and feel the sensation between your toes

- Visit a local community garden or park and go for a stroll, meditate or read a good book

- Ditch your gym membership and get creative by finding new ways to get active outdoors: play with the kids in your backyard, walk the dog in the sun, do yoga in the park amongst the trees, join a running group and discover new trails, swim in the beach etc.

- Bring indoor plants into your home, make a pot plant garden on your deck, grow herbs and vegetables in planter boxes in your yard. Surround yourself and your living environment with little pieces of nature. Getting your hands dirty and connecting with your food from seed all the way until it ends up on your dinner plate is an enriching experience.

What can you do starting from today onwards, to better connect with the natural world, to help manage stress and enhance your vitality?

Join me for a complementary phone call to discuss your health goals and how I can support you in achieving them! Spring is here and summer is next... look and feel your best! 
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Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Power of The Mind - Discover My 3 Essentials for Balance & Wellness!

For years I have focused primarily on the wellness of the physical body. I recently have become very aware that true health begins in the mind. It doesn't matter how much you workout, how many organic vegetables you eat, whether you drink a daily green juice or what supplements you take if you are constantly stressed out or not fully grounded in the present moment.

A daily mindfulness practice is a very special ritual to embrace as part of your own personal self care regime. For me, I have just committed to this and I am already noticing great improvements in how I respond to testing moments in life. I look forward to connecting to my true self, grounding in the present moment and seeing things more clearly when I meditate for 20 minutes each morning at sunrise and each evening as the sun goes back down.

In doing this daily practice, I feel more full... full of life, love and happiness from within. When I feel these things within myself, I am better able to share them with others. I believe the key to real, long lasting health and wellness, is to:

MAXIMIZE the raw materials the body needs: sunlight, fresh air, pure drinking water, healthy fats, clean protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants

MINIMIZE various causes of stress on the body including trauma, infection, toxins, negative energy, and allergens


PRIORITIZE daily mindfulness, sleep, rest, play, creativity, passions, hobbies, supportive relationships, meaningful work

I challenge you to dedicate at least 15minutes of your day to your own version of a mindfulness practice for 2 weeks. Notice how you feel after committing to and doing this for yourself. I believe it is the most powerful tool you can have in life... and it's free!

*Join my wellness tribe by signing up for my once monthly newsletter! Now is the time to embrace your very own 3 Month Personalized Wellness Program with me as your supportive coach. Believe in yourself... you can achieve anything you set your mind to!     

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Spring Cleansing - A Gentle Approach EVERYONE Can Do & Enjoy

Feeling a little heavy after the cooler winter months? It's almost spring time and it's definitely time to cleanse and rejuvenate the body for vibrant daily energy during this warmer season.

Here are my top ways to cleanse naturally and effortlessly:

- Front load your food intake to feel lighter and lose some excess winter pounds. By this I mean eat most of your daily food intake earlier in the day for breakfast and lunch. Ensure there is enough protein and fat in your breakfast and lunch to get you comfortably through to the next meal. And make lunch the most substantial meal so that you use up all the energy it provides by the evening, when it is time for a light dinner meal such as a vegetarian dish, cleansing soup or detoxifying salad.

- Drink lots of water with fresh lemon and fresh organic vegetable juice to flush toxins out of your body and alkalize your entire system, promoting a state of balance and wellness. Lemon is high in vitamin C and all vegetables contain a wide variety of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Lemon water and vegetable juice is not a meal replacement, instead use these drinks to complement a clean and mindful way of eating. Our bodies need healthy fats and protein from high quality whole foods such as eggs, wild salmon and grass fed beef etc. for satiety and optimum functioning. We get ample complex carbohydrates from the plant foods we eat.

- Ditch all packaged foods with ingredient lists. The main things to cut down on or eliminate on this cleanse are refined sugars and flours. Sugars include alcohol such as wine. And there is no need for artificial sweeteners or even "natural sweeteners" such as coconut sugar or maple syrup. If you want to eat something sweet, opt for a piece of fresh organic fruit such as an apple or a handful of berries, 1-2 squares of organic dark chocolate (min 70%), or bake some sweet potato in coconut oil with a dusting of ground cinnamon. There is ample natural sugars in these to satisfy your sweet tooth. It's all about training your taste buds.

- Eat a mix of raw and lightly cooked cruciferous vegetables. These are the "broccoli family" including some of my personal favorite veggies of all time such as cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts and kale. They are very detoxifying and taste delicious when consumed raw (in a salad, juice or as a snack with some dip) or cooked (sautéed, made into a soup, or baked with a little coconut oil). YUM

- Supplement with micro algae such as spirulina or chlorella. You can get them in pill form or powder form. I like powder form because it is easy to mix into a smoothie or vegetable juice. These super algae's bind with heavy metals and other toxic substances, that lets be honest, can be hard to avoid in this modern world, and help to efficiently get them out of your system so that you can achieve and maintain a state of good health.
*Common sources of heavy metals include tap water, cosmetics / body products, dental murcury fillings, large wild fish such as tuna, pots and pans, pharmaceutical drugs, processed foods, baby formula, furniture and house finishes, white flour (refined wheat flour) and canned food... the list goes on!    

Join me for a Personalized SPRING Cleanse by signing up NOW for my 3 Month Wellness Program. Enjoy balanced food and lifestyle choices every day! 


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Myth Buster: Acid Reflux - 5 Simple Tips To Get Relief

Acid reflux is experienced by many of the people who come to me seeking nutrition and wellness support. But are you aware that there is a big myth surrounding the true cause of acid reflux. Conventional medicine believes it is due to too much stomach acid. However, it is actually stomach acid in he wrong place (entering the esophagus) and if anything, it is due to a lack of stomach acid! Yep, you heard me correctly. 

Here are some general suggestions you can try to relieve acid reflux symptoms once and for all:

- Supplement with magnesium. Magnesium Citrate is great if you also suffer from frequent constipation. Otherwise opt for Magnesium Glycinate. Magnesium helps the muscles of the body to relax and contract at all the right times, improving symptoms of acid reflux. 

- Slow down and eat in a relaxed state, chewing your food thoroughly. Stress is a big trigger for acid reflux and drastically impedes digestion / absorption of nutrients. Our gastrointestinal tract needs to know when it is about to receive food, so it can secrete all the right gastric juices, including sufficient amounts of stomach acid. Chewing is the only voluntary part of digestion... so it is up to us to mindfully chew thoroughly to make the job of the hard working stomach and intestines easier. 

- Try supplementing with HCl Betaine + Pepsin in the middle of your meal (particularly meals rich in protein) to temporarily boost stomach acid levels (don't rely on this for long term use). Alternatively try a little diluted Apple Cider Vinegar in the middle of your meal (with all new supplements, start with a low dose and work your way up as needed - start with a couple of teaspoons and work your way up to a couple of tablespoons - note that everyone is unique and has different requirements). Herbal bitters may be something you want to look into too. They also stimulate the production of sufficient gastric juices.

- Hydrate between meals to avoid diluting your stomach acid during meal time.

- Ditch your reflux triggers, for a lot of people this includes coffee, fried foods, dairy and alcohol!!! Other triggers for people include very rich, spicy or overly acidic foods.

For personalized health and wellness coaching with me, email sarah@mybalanceandwellness.com to find out more about how I can support you to enjoy optimum vitality. Also visit www.mybalanceandwellness.com for more information about my amazing services.  

Thursday, February 19, 2015

How To Get To The Root Cause Of Your Health Concerns!

My journey to Balance & Wellness has been a LONG one with many trials and errors. I can't say I regret anything, because as always, at the time, in that moment, I did what I could with the awareness I had and the resources made available to me.

If you trash your body mindlessly with junk food and poor lifestyle choices, your health will pay for it in some way... If not now, then later. There is no way to cheat the system. Your body is incredibly smart and is constantly responding the best way it can to everything you think, do, drink, eat and absorb, in order to maintain a delicate balance so that you can thrive.

In the past, if I had a skin problem I saw a dermatologist, when I had womanly problems I went to the gynecologist, and when I was sick I saw the doctor. All this sounds pretty normal right? Well I want to share a word of caution with you.  Don't get me wrong, these "experts" and "specialists" have their place in "modern health care" and can be very good at looking at a specific part of the body, but for me personally, many for my close friends, dear family and wonderful clients, they have mostly managed to bandaid the symptoms of ill health to provide temporary relief, rather than healing from the root cause and treating the body as a whole (where all its systems are intricately connected).

I was given prescription after prescription for any health complaint I had, no matter how big or small. Medications, over the counter drugs and antibiotics can have MAJOR SIDE EFFECTS that vary from person to person. As an example, the antibiotics I took for a little dermatitis on my face (prescribed by a dermatologist with only temporary relief) contributed to my impaired gut function and allowed other pathogenic microbes to thrive, causing a whole new host of problems. Do you see what I am getting at? And this is just one example. Turns out, after getting tested by my Naturopathic Doctor, I was ultra sensitive to gluten, dairy and eggs, and it took a 100% elimination of these foods to finally get rid of my dermatitis outbreaks!  

In the past, like most people in the general public, I was not educated about how to take care of myself and prioritize my health. I was stressed, exhausted, suffered acne and later on experienced gastrointestinal issues, including the ones mentioned above. But this is what lead me to be the educated and aware person that I am today. We need to take responsibility for our happiness and wellbeing by doing our research and reaching out to holistic health care practitioners such as Naturopathic Doctors, Functional or Integrative Medical Doctors, and Certified Health Coaches like myself. I would like to see conventional health care work with alternative health care to provide people with full healing capabilities.  Or ideally, alternative health care becoming the norm, where things like comprehensive stool tests and blood panels are part of everyones yearly check up.

Now I take the very best care of myself, by maximizing the raw materials the body needs for optimum functioning, minimizing its toxic load and prioritizing supportive lifestyle choices. When you do this the body will naturally seek a state of wellness. I'm here to support you in feeling amazing and relieving your symptoms. Note that symptoms are a gift from the body, like a clear message that something is out of balance and needs to be addressed. I advise you to tune into your body and pay attention to what it is telling you!


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Top Nutritional Boosters For Enhanced Vitality

Micro greens - micro greens are one of my favorite ways to boost any meal from eggs for breakfast, a chicken salad for lunch and a veggie soup for dinner. They are packed with chlorophyll which cleanses the blood, as well as essential nutrients, antioxidants, amino acids and enzymes. Find them at your local health foods store.

Lemon juice - lemon juice is high in vitamin C while being a low sugar fruit. Add it to room temp or warm water between meals to aid digestion, alkalize and detox the body. It's a simple thing everyone can do to make their day a little healthier.  I also love to squeeze it on salads, chicken and fish dishes. Be sure to use the rind too.

Nuts and seeds: some of my fav nuts and seeds include hemp for protein density, freshly ground flax seeds for hormonal balance, sesame seeds for calcium, pumpkin seeds for magnesium and brazil nuts for selenium. My advice is to opt for a wide variety of organic and raw nuts and seeds so you get all their health promoting nutrients (lightly toasted and sprouted are also good choices regarding bioavailability of nutrients). Nuts and seeds all contain healthy fats, protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals that are beneficial to glowing health.

Kelp flakes - kelp flakes are rich in iodine, a vital trace mineral for healthy thyroid function, and very easy to sprinkle over any savory dish for a little salty flavor.

Avocado and eggs - these two sources of healthy fats are quick and easy additions to any meal. Try adding avocado to soups and salads for satiety, blood sugar balance and glowing skin. Eggs are a wonderful source of fat soluble vitamins and protein. Whip them up in a jiffy for breakfast, make a frittata to take to work, pack boiled eggs as a healthy snack or add one on top of any dish for a major boost in nutrients. Always opt for pasture raised and organic eggs from chickens raised with LOVE.

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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Fat Is Good For You!... Discover my favorite cooking fats and oils!

*Raw Coconut Oil - coconut oil is a saturated fat which means it is suitable for high heat cooking. My favorite way to use it is on a big batch of cubed sweet root vegetables for baking. It really brings out their natural sweetness. Hot tip: add a light dusting of cinnamon and nutmeg.

*Cold Pressed Grape Seed Oil - this oil is one of my favorites for med-high heat cooking when I want a neutral taste such as in a stir fry or pan searing high quality animal protein. I only use a little because it is high in omega 6 fatty acids, so you need to ensure you are balancing them out with lots of anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids in your daily diet. *To do this I eat wild salmon 1-2 times a week or take a high quality fish oil supplement like Nordic Naturals.

*Organic & Grass Fed Ghee - ghee is a saturated fat making it great for high heat cooking. It is basically pure butter fat as most of the milk solids (lactose / sugars and casein / proteins) have been removed.  This makes it ok to consume for some dairy sensitive people. It is great to add to homemade organic popcorn for movie night, or to add to any savory dish for a delicious buttery taste.

*Other healthy options for high heat cooking include red palm oil (ensure it is responsibly sourced and fair trade), tallow, lard and duck fat.

*Myth Buster: extra virgin olive oil is not a healthy choice for cooking. It is best used as a dressing or flavor enhancer to raw foods or meals once cooked. You don't want to damage the delicate nutrients in olive oil by heating them as it will cause your body to have excess free radicals / toxins and potentially damage your own body tissues.

*Top Tip: use all other cold pressed nut and seed oils for dressings or flavor enhancers too. Some of my favorites include toasted sesame oil for drizzling on a my stir fry once cooked, flax oil for adding to smoothies, walnut oil for salad dressings etc.

Join me now for your very own Personalized 3 Month Wellness Program. Discover how to eat for your unique body type, enjoy more daily energy, sleep better at night, improve your digestion and embrace natural weight loss.