Monday, 31 December 2012

Year in Review & My Intentions

img via
A couple years ago I learned about a wonderful tradition for New Years Eve or New Years Day.
It's to come up with a word that you see to fit the coming year. My word during the year that I left my energy draining job was Strength. Everytime I became nervous or feared the unknown I would refer back to my word. I used it as almost a mantra to bring calmness to myself. This year my words (decided to go with a combo) is Surrender & Faith. I've found that I'm trying too hard to control everything in my life. Sometimes we have to surrender and have faith that everything will work out just as it's supposed to be. I'm a big believer that everything happens for a reason so why not let go and release the stress that comes with trying to push everything into action. I'm having faith in the universe in 2013.

I also started making intentions for the year instead of resolutions. Instead of making resolutions about all the things you are not going to do, why not make intentions of what you want to accomplish or see in your life for the coming year. Resolutions always remind me of things i've done "bad" or have regrets towards. So flip it and make it positive with intentions....
  • I intend to help people step by step to creating a lasting positive and healthy life.
  • I intend to spend more time with my family and friends.
  • I intend to only eat meals and leave snacking in my past.
  • I intend to connect with nature more.
  • I intend to have a beautiful wedding in November.
  • I intend to travel to New York City.
  • I intend to have a thriving business while helping people I care about.
What are some of your intentions for the year?


Year in Review:
2012 brought a whole bunch of highs and lows.

Beginning of the Year:
My fiancĂ© and I started off the year by moving into our new condo. I'm still so grateful to find an amazing place that makes me happy to go home too every day. Last night I was getting ready for bed and was looking out at the lights from the docks reflecting onto the water and thought "wow, we are extremly lucky to be given this opportunity to have such a place". It took a couple months for us to adjust to living together. Like normal you learn and comprimise with your partner. Living together is truly a test to your relationship. We came out thriving though and found out we are more than just lovers but also best friends who can hang out and be our true selves.

Middle of the Year:
The end of Summer brought disappoint, fear and sadness. It was a moment I had feared would happen again and with my unwanting knowledge my mom was diagnosed with cancer again. Her courage and strength continues to motivate people to live each day to the fullest. We all continue to be positive and know she will beat this unforgiving disease once again. I believe we all came together as family this year to support someone who means to the world to us and continues to give so much love to us. With the New Year coming up she starts her next round of treatment. It's going to be a tough one as they've had to increase the strength of the chemotherapy. I'm sending all my calming and loving vibes to her every day to ease the tiring treatment that must be done.

Christmas Morning - Opening Stockings by the Fireplace
End of the Year:
The last few months of the year brought surprises. My first surprise was that I won a trip to Varadero, Cuba. The resort left us very dissapointed but the proposal on the beach made it a mere smudge in my mind. I was so incredibly surprised that Scott proposed and estatic to share our joy with family and friends.
Christmas was beautiful as Scott and I celebrated together in our home in the morning and enjoyed a big breakfast that would help us make it through the long day ahead. We left our home at noon and didn't get home from visiting family till midnight. Just this past Friday was our engagement party in which we celebrated with close friends and family. It was alot of work/stress trying to put it together on such short notice and in between holidays but it came out pretty successful and everyone had a great time. It was nice to end the year with both our families all being in the same place at once for the first time!


Happy New Year everyone!
Lots of Love and well wishes to you all!

-Michelle

Friday, 14 December 2012

Be Right Back

Greetings everyone,

I just wanted to let you know that I haven't forgotten about you. I'm going to take a little break while I study hard and start my health coaching practice. I want to make sure I am the best health coach I can be for people. I'll still be in touch on twitter, facebook and pinterest (of course - haha).

In the mean time,

HAPPY HOLIDAYS and have a wonderful NEW YEARS !

img via
Love,
Michelle

Monday, 3 December 2012

We Are Engaged!

We got engaged while in Varadero, Cuba on November 25th!

We are super excited and can't wait to see all our friends and family to celebrate. Scott was amazing and absolutely surprised me. I had an idea we would get engaged sometime soon but I didn't think he had anything planned for this trip.

I'm in love with my engagement ring!
During the day we took a long walk down the beach and we ended up standing on a cliff with the ocean in front of us and no one around. I mentioned to him that it would be a great place for someone to get married as you could look over the water and hear the waves crash. I turned around to him and he was staring at me. He said "What if we got engaged here?". I instantly thought he was joking but he walked closer and closer to me and was reaching into his "murse" (lol). He pulled out a piece of tissue while I continued to have a little freak out in my head. Then he put the ring on my finger and asked me to marry him. Of course there was a lot more mushy words said after.

Our Engagement Spot

During the whole time I was crying, good tears. At one point Scott asked me if I liked the ring and I said "I can't see it, I can't see down because I have too many tears" lol. Luckily a couple just happened to walk by when everything was done and we asked them to take a picture of us. We both look like a total mess as we had just spent most of the day on the beach and just finished crying our faces off! It was nice to capture the moment though.

Still in shock but so happy

I had to take a second and sit down on the cliff. I couldn't believe what just happened. We got up after a couple minutes and walked back to our resort along the beach. We kept stopping and hugging and talking about how we couldn't believe we were engaged and going to get married. Once we got to our spot on the beach Scott ordered some champagne (in our fancy plastic cups) and as we toasted to our new engagement & future together. Over the next few days it started to hit us how much planning we had to do in the coming months! and omg we are getting married!


I'm still on cloud nine and it was so exciting to call everyone once we touched down in Vancouver. 

-Michelle

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Beach Vacation & Christmas = Interesting Combo

It's finally time!

Time to take off to Varadero, Cuba. I won the trip about a month ago and at times I think time slowed down and crawled backwards but at the same time, I can't believe it's the end of November already.

Doesn't look to shabby to me?! - img via
We are leaving early Saturday morning and have a quick layover in Calgary. We should be getting into Cuba around 9pm, just in time to grab a drink at the bar. I've got to be honest, I never considered going to Cuba as I had heard from so many people how bland the food was. I never even spent a minute to investigate it on my own. Well ever since we won the trip I've been googling and flipping through pictures of Varadero. People!! Why didn't you tell me they had gorgeous beaches?! Food, who cares about food when you have gorgeous white sand beach and crystal blue ocean waves sparkling at you. All I need is a drink in hand and I'm good. Jeeeez.

I'll definitely be reporting back on my opinion of Cuba compared to other Carribean destinations. I've heard that the people are quite charming and nice like in Dominican Republic. Sweet news to my ears.

We get back into Vancouver on December 2nd. It's going to be strange going from pretty much no Christmas activity in our town to boom, Christmas season galore. I'm excited to start decorating our place. It's our first year in our new condo and our first Christmas living together. Our place is far too tiny to have a fake or real tree so I've scanning the web and Pinterest (of course) trying to find some alternatives. Any ideas anyone?

A little Christmas tree this year - img via
I've been having a craving for pomegranate's this past couple weeks and gave in the other day and bought Scott and I a big one. I couldn't believe that it cost $5.00 just for one but I just had to get my fix. I haven't been having any sugar treats so this was going to be my splurge treat. I tried out the under water method of opening it up. It works so well! It was alot easier then tearing at it while all the pomegranate juice squirts on your hands, eyes and clothes. Come December I'm going to try creating a Pomegranate Martini. Any recipes you could suggest??

A simple pomegranate martini - know of any great recipes? - img via


Well folks, until December....
Have a great holiday Thanksgiving and talk to you soon. xo

-Michelle

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

New Website Launched: Holistic Health Coaching

Ladies and Gents..... I give you:  My New Website!

Join me for a Health History consultation
www.REVIVE-healthcoach.com

I've been a busy bee lately (or should I say elf?!). I'm no website designer but I've given it my best and created my own website for my Holistic Health Coaching Practice.

Man is it nerve racking to put yourself out there. When you present something straight from your soul that means the most to you, it can become a tad bit scary. But this is what I'm meant to do in life and I'm happy to help people.

Hope you enjoy it!

Please pass it along to any of your family or friends who you think would benefit from health coaching program.

Lots of love,
Michelle

Friday, 16 November 2012

Weekend Warm-Up : Getting Close

It's almost time...

Time for me to escape the hectic stressful days (positive thoughts, positive thoughts) and lie on the beach for a week. This weekend I'm tieing up all my loose ends before I leave for Cuba next weekend. It's amazing all the little things you remember you have to pack. I wish I was one of those travelers who could bring the bare minimal. I always decide to bring the "just in case" items. Hey.... you never know when you might need a different pair of shoes.

Over the past couple weeks I've been amping up my workout routines and scaling back my "treats". I've barely ate any salt lately and have only had one glass of wine this week. I'm craving a nice bowl of ice cream right about now lol. I feel amazing though and I don't think I'll change too much in regards to my diet, once I get back from Cuba. I feel Cleeeeeeeeean.

 Some lovely links from around the web:
img via Lululemon





Have a wonderful weekend!
-Michelle

Thursday, 15 November 2012

The Soda Pop Ban Debate

What's your opinion of the ban on super sized sodas in New York City?

I think it's a good idea. People don't realize how many calories they are consuming and how much sugar is in them. People also don't take in account the amount chemicals they are consuming when they drink the diet and normal soda pop. Over time a large consumption of soda pop can catch up to your health and cause harm.

I understand that everyone has a right to choose what they eat or drink but we are still in the times of extreme marketing and advertising that hypnotise people and then have them addicted to the sugar.

Check out this infograph that presents some interesting facts:

Source: everyday HEALTH

-Michelle

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Cancer Update

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

As you may know, my mom was diagnosed with cancer back in August. It's been quite the roller coaster of emotions from one week to the next. She's an incredible strong woman who is continuing to work while she does her chemo treatments. Her lump in her neck has gone down (woohoo) and the cancer in her lungs has begun to respond to treatment. This round of chemotherapy will last till the new year.

print via

Overwhelming heavy heart while the brain reminds me to keep positive and remove the sadness. It's a constant conflict but I'm lucky that I am constantly surrounded by optimistic positive influences. I think the hardest part is seeing someone you love so sick. There's no controlling how she is going to feel each day. She may have plans to come over and visit but by half way through she has to leave as she starts to feel too sick. That's when I want to jump in and take her place. Just give her a break from it all. She's learnt through trial and error that the body responds to what you feed it. So there's no bad fats anymore and tons of healthy fruits and vegetables that keep her from being sicker than she needs too.

Now here's a kicker, my grandfather was diagnosed with cancer a couple weekends ago. He's got melanoma on his back and goes in for an operation in the end of November. He's only in his late 60's and suffered a heart attack a couple years ago. Man, the saying "when it rains, it pours" is quite true! Gramps likes to keep to himself about his health issues but I'm always going to be there when he needs some support. I've got my positive thoughts and fingers crossed that the operation goes smoothly and everything is back on track.

While performing health history consultations with people over the last little while, I've noticed a frightening trend. Almost every single person I've talked to has someone in their life who has been diagnosed with cancer. And so often when you run into someone around town and the topic of cancer comes up, they know someone who is battling cancer. This absolutely astonishes me, disgusts me and motivates me. How does it motivate me? Since studying at IIN to become a health coach, I've learnt so much more on how it's possible to prevent many cancers and to never give cancer a chance to live in your body. We are what we eat! By also monitoring our stress levels and increasing happiness, I believe there is hope to bring the rate of new cancer patients down and help current cancer patients recover. I want to help people learn how often we put our health in danger through nutrition & lifestyle and how it is preventable and reversible.

Take Control of Your Health, Before it Takes Control of You

I have a dream that one day we teach our children the ways to prevent cancer & illness through nutrition and well being. I want it to be a common fact just like how we now teach our children about sex education.

Knowledge can change the world!

-Michelle

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

5 Interesting Water Facts That Will Benefit Your Health

Our body is made up out of 75% of water and our brain is made up out of 85% of water. Water is crucial to our health. Water is believed to be more important than food! We could last for a while without food but could not last for days without water.

5 Interesting Water Facts 
  1. Often times when you think you are hungry for food it is in fact your body sending signals that you are dehydrated and need more water. Try having a glass of water before reaching for food.
  2. Drinking warm water in the morning helps to activate your brain and metabolism. Drinking cold water actually makes your body work harder by trying to warm the water up to body temperature. It's best to drink cold water in the afternoons.
  3. Water can be used for therapy. Showers can make you feel refreshed and awakened. When you are feeling sick it's important to take several showers to clean the "gunk" off and let your body breathe.
  4. It is recommend that men drink 13 cups of water a day and women drink 9 cups. It's best though to get in tune with your body and find what amount works for you.
  5. Above all, water can heal. Next time you have a headache, try drinking more water and you will be amazed that the headache will ease off or disappear all together. Water can flush toxins out of your body and make room for fresh healthy cells.
It's important to take in natural, clean water. Coffee, soda and tea can actually have the opposite effect and dehydrate you. Try to avoid water that contains chlorine and when possible filter your water.

Are you good at getting your proper amount of water in a day?

-Michelle

Monday, 5 November 2012

Dirty Apron Cooking School in Vancouver

We had a blast this past weekend at The Dirty Apron Cooking School.

The whole experience was all around exceptional. It's in this brick building tucked in Downtown Vancouver. The 4 of us took a cab over as we didn't want to be cooking in soaking wet clothes from the down pour of rain coming down. We were greeted with welcoming smiles and a lovely glass of sparkling wine. There was about 20 people in the class and we all gathered to sit and watch the chef teach us our first course. After teaching us our first recipe he let us free to find out cooking stations.

Chef and his Students
Our first course was a goat cheese and arugula ravioli in a walnut sage sauce. For the first time in my life, I made fresh pasta people! I'm never going back and Scott & I are investing in a pasta machine. After we were done cooking the appitizer we all got to take our dishes back to a long dining table to enjoy it. Yum! The common comment around the table was "I made that?!".

Our main entree was grilled lamb sirloin with ricotta herb gnocchi and chanterelle sauce. They were nice of enough to provide a piece of black cod for me (being the veg and all). It was also nice that the gnocchi wasn't potato based but instead a ricotta base which made it much lighter. It was all super easy to cook and the staff was great at coming around to check on your progress and offer tips.

Again we came back to the long wooden table and enjoyed the meal with our friends over a delish glass of wine. Our desserts, lemon panacotta that we made were brought out to us after we were finished our entrees. I accidentally forgot to put the gelatin in mine (oops lol). Mine came out like a soup but it was great to dip my biscotti in!

The whole experience was exciting and worth the money. It's something different to do with friends if you are looking to change up your typical dinner night. We got to take our nice aprons home and the recipes we made. The only flaw I encountered is the food is a bit on the unhealthy side but it was nice as a treat.

How was your weekend?
-Michelle

Friday, 2 November 2012

Weekend Warm-Up : Cooking School (Dirty Apron)

Happy Friday everyone!

A big TGIF for me this week. I think I've accidently slept in about 3 times this week. I tend to need more sleep when I'm stressed in life. No matter how many naps I catch, still not enough. Hopefully next week will be alot different and I can get back into my groove.

Special Sushi Making Party Night
The past few weekends we've been on a trend of creating different foods we've never tried cooking/making before. Scott created a wonderful sushi meal a couple weekends ago. We all got a turn to make our own rolls and they turned out amazing. I thought I could totally nail it but mine was the worst one! lol. By the time all the prepping was complete we were starving. I don't think I've ever eaten sushi that fast, tsk tsk on me.

This weekend we are heading to The Dirty Apron Cooking School here in downtown Vancouver. For Scott's birthday present, his best friend bought all of us a night out together at the cooking school. This has been a dream of Scott's for a while. I think this will really take his passion for cooking to a new level. The school has been nice enough to offer me a non meat dish to cook. Greeeat now I'll be "that veggie girl" again haha! I'm really looking forward to it all, should be fun.

Lovely Links: 
 What are you doing this weekend?
-Michelle

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Healthy Weight : Halloween Candy Comparison

Oh those little bars of sweet goodness. How can anyone resist? Before you reach into that bucket or bowl, let's go over the facts and maybe it will make you think twice.


#1 turn off: It's SUGAR and when we eat sugar it has us wanting more in mere minutes. The chocolate bars are also loaded with preservatives and chemicals that cause harm and discomfort in our bodies.

I've gathered a couple of my favourites from the past :
  • Resse's Peanut Butter Cups : 80 calories - 4.5g fat - 7g of sugar
  • Peanut M&M's : 93 calories - 4.7g fat - 9.1g of sugar
  • Skittles : 80 calories - .8g fat - 15g of sugar
  • Butterfinger : 100 calories - 4g fat - 11.5g of sugar

Why not opt for one of these 100 calorie snacks that will actually do your body good and provide proper energy.

100 calories =
  • 3 cups of air popped popcorn
  • 1 cup of baby carrots and table spoons of hummus
  • 1/2 Larabar
and if you are craving more of a sweeter taste:
  • 5 Hershey's Dark Chocolate kisses
  • fruit is always great a better choice when you are needing something sweet
Although it's not that exciting to choose the healthy snack, it's important to remember that those calories add up quickly. If you choose to have 3 of those "small bite" chocolate bars in one day, you would have to do an hour of moderate exercise (fast paced walking) to burn off those 300 calories.
Why set yourself back?

When you have a craving for candy or treats how do you avoid the temptation?

-Michelle
Holistic Health Coach

Monday, 29 October 2012

Opportunity to Guest Blog for LiveLoudly

I have an opportunity for my fellow bloggers to guest post on my blog from November 23 - December 1st. I'll be in Cuba during this time.

  • I have 3 openings available.
  • The guest blog post must be health and wellness related.
  • It must include at least one high quality image.

If you are interested in one of the spots, please feel free to contact me and we can discuss your idea for a post.

-Michelle

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Things That Really Matter

Yesterday I came across a post from Jess Lively and wanted to share it with you all. I had seen this story a couple years ago but had completly forgot about it.

It's a great reminder to appreciate what truly matters in life. Family, friends and happiness should never be second best.

Appreciate the Small Things in Life That May Mean the Most

Golf Balls, Sand, Coffee and a Mayo Jar

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and fills it with golf balls.
He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured it into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.
He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.
He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “YES”.

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

“Now,” said the professor, as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things – God, family, children, health, friends, and favorite passions. Things, that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the things that matter like your job, house, and car. The sand is everything else — the small stuff.” he said.
“If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “There is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you…” he told them.

“So… pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Worship with your family. Play with your children. Take your partner out to dinner. Spend time with good friends. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the dripping tap. Take care of the golf balls first — the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented.

The professor smiled and said, “I’m glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.”

Don't forget to tell the most important people in your life that you love them and that they are everything to you!

-Michelle

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Positive Life : Vision Boards

I'm a visual person. I have to see something for it to really resonate inside me. This is why I love Vision Boards. Back in 2009, after I left my job of 9 years I created a vision board to bring more positivity into my life. 6 months later, almost half my board was being lived. In the beginning of 2012 I decided it was time to make a new one. This time I added on my health coaching business and also my health retreat. I'm on track to make the majority of the vision board come true.


I find vision boards help me bring together all my possible thoughts, dreams, wishes and goals. It's a way for me to see them outside of my, at times, judgemental head. It's a great way to make a declaration to the universe that you want something and you are on a mission to make it happen. It can help you gain a clear focus of what exactly you are striving for in life.

Vision boards are not just meant for material or career goals but you could even have a section on how you would like your relationships with a boyfriend/girlfriend to generate or flow in your life. I think this is why I love Pinterest so much. It's the same type of idea, boards for categories that really connect to our lives. Although I prefer making my own physical vision board that I can see, read and contemplate on every day. Some people prefer to make them, tuck them way and come back to the board in 6 months to a year to see what has come alive.

Another great idea is to add words to your vision board that motivate or inspire you. It doesn't have to be the typical motivational words but even just a single word that connects to your soul every time you read it.

Easy steps to creating a vision board:
  1. Find your favourite magazines from around the house. Flip through them and whatever stands out, clip it out. You can figure out it's place in your vision board later. Just make sure to lead with your natural intuition.
  2. On a large paper board, arrange the cut outs the way they connect to you. For instance: I laid mine out by categories such as house/home, career, relationships/family, appearance/fashion, health, and my large dream.
  3. I like to add the words on last, where I find they will stand out most.
  4. Start gluing!
  5. Hang the vision board some where that you will be able to see everyday or most often. You can actually take a picture of the board and place it as a computer background, phone wallpaper or screen saver.
  6. Have fun! This is for you, it doesn't have to be perfect.
I'll be creating my Health Coaching Business vision board this weekend.

Have you ever created a Vision Board?
-Michelle

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Fitness Love: Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer

Energy Drinks have always been a weakness for me. I don't have a lot of energy from being anaemic (not enough iron in my body), so I usually require a little boost before I workout. I used to grab an energy drink on my way to the gym from a corner store. I knew it was very bad for me but I just needed something so I wasn't dragging through my run. Everything changed when I found Vega Sport - Pre-Workout Energizer. 


I'll admit I was a little doubtful if it would give me the same energy as a Rockstar or Red Bull. Luckily I was wrong and it actually was tremendously better than the "others". It comes in a small package that is handy to carry around in your purse or gym bag. Throw a couple in your car and all you have to do is add it to water. No more empty cans in my car either - bonus! I made sure to drink it 20 minutes before my workout and I could feel the change in my body. There was no energy spike and then crashing. It's a gradual energy increase that is perfect for exercising. I love that it doesn't over stimulate your body either. When I drank Rockstar my speech actually became slurred, it was scary! With Vega Sport there's no caffeine headaches and I never have trouble getting to sleep at night when I work out in the afternoon/evening.

My two cousins who are both teenage boys, play a lot of sports. I always hated them seeing me drink an energy drink when I would preach to them to stay away from it. After my cousins hockey game the other weekend I gave him one of the Vega Sport packages to try out. The next day I got a text (rarely happens lol) saying "I love this stuff! and where can I get more?". This cousin is 16 years old and is devoted to a healthy body and fitness. He said he couldn't believe the energy it gave him and he was able to achieve a full workout session at the gym and all while never losing his endurance.

My Rating:  5 STARS

Benefits of Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer

    Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer (18g SINGLE) - Lemon Lime
  • Instant energy and slow burning fuel
  • No crashing!
  • Organic sprouted brown rice syrup enters the blood stream quickly (due to high GI index) and gives you instant energy.
  • Organic palm nectar provides slow released energy (due to low GI index) = no spike no crash
  • Convenient packages
  • Two flavors: Acai Berry and Lemon Lime
  • Tastes similar to a berry or lime iced tea
  • Equal or less in price to other energy drinks
  • It's a blend of 13 plant-based ingredients







Do you require an energy drink before you workout? Or do you enjoy having one every once in a while?

I'm curious to know how you build up your energy before exercising.
-Michelle

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Did You Know? Gummy Vitamins

Eeek! It's one of those things that make me cringe, Gummy Vitamins! and especially if you are feeding them to kids.

These buggers are sneeeky!
Gummy vitamins do not improve your health. The gummy's are usually coated or combined with corn syrup (sugar). Not only is sugar unhealthy for your body but it also starts cravings for more sugar. To create the gummy vitamin the manufacturers must heat the material to very high temperatures that pretty much kills all the nutritional value in the vitamin. This leaving you with  : A Daily Candy.

With kids, it's important to avoid teaching them that eating candy everyday is an okay thing to do. Small kids don't understand that it's supposed to be a vitamin. All they see and think is candy, candy, candy! Creating a daily habit of eating candy is very unhealthy for any child.

I know it may be heard to get your children to take vitamins if they are picky eaters but it's best to try to get them to receive more vitamins and nutrients from the food they eat. Load your kids up with as many organic veggies, fuit and lean protein as you can. There is some vitamin & supplement companies that provide vitamins for kids that do not contain corn syrup and other high content sugar substances. They also try to make it kid friendly by shaping the vitamins into characters.

All you adults who pop those gummies back every day... let's be honest.. something that tastes that good, can't be good for you! Don't worry, I used to be fooled too ;)

Have you fallen for Gummy Vitamin temptation?
-Michelle

img via

Monday, 15 October 2012

I won I won! : Trip To Cuba

I'm baaack! I took some time away from my computer and the internet while I was on my stay-cation. I'm happy to be back and get back into providing health tips and stories.

The Announcement in the newspaper.

While I was on my stay-cation I got some exciting news... I won a trip to Cuba! Can you believe it? I couldn't! I had entered a contest through 24hr newspaper to win an all inclusive trip. I had totally forgot about entering. I was driving along in my car and missed a call, so I checked my voice mail once I stopped and was listening to the lady from the paper talking about how I won a contest. All I could think was "oh that's cool, I probably won a gift card to a restaurant or something". She didn't mention that it was a trip to Cuba till the end of the message, just slipped that in at the end. I started freaking out by myself in the car. People around me thought I was crazy. I instantly called the newspaper back and claimed my prize. We are able to travel whenever we would like and the travel agent is calling us this week to book the trip. The prize includes: flight, 7 night accommodation at the all inclusive - 5 star resort, Sandals Royal Hicacos (Varadero).  Scott and I can't wait to go. We have been wanting to get away for over a year now.

My hot chef in the kitchen, celery rose, sunset and hockey - perfect combo!

During my time off we had the pleasure of celebrating Thanksgiving at Scott's parents house and the food was excellent! Stuffing, sweet potato casserole, broccoli and cauliflower gratin, all were yummy. The weather was mostly sunny during my time off and I was able to relax and enjoy the beautiful sunsets from our condo. I was also able to catch a hockey game that my cousin was playing in.

All in all it was a great time off and I was able to rejuvenate and prepare for the upcoming busy months. I also had a chance to try out the Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer and I'll be posting my review of it this week - stay tuned!

Hope you all have a wonderful week!
-Michelle

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Health Coach: The Ups & Downs of a Healthy Weight

As a healthy coach I not only want to help people learn to avoid cancer and disease but I also want to help them with weight issues. 

Lots of people assume I have always been this weight and it comes naturally to me. They assume that I have never had to work hard for my body and I've never struggled with my weight. Well let me tell you, they gotta it all wrong...

Feeling healthy and happy

I don't share this with a lot of people because it's a thing of the past but I want to be open and true with my clients and let them know that I've been in their shoes before, I want to share my journey through weight loss with you all.

When I was around 5 years old I was super tiny and a healthy kid. I was always outside and wanting to go go go. My family always had to drag me inside from playing. From the age 10-12 I started putting on more and more weight. I believe it was caused by a number of factors. Moving to a new school, staying inside more/less active and be self conscious of the weight I had put on. There were days when I would go out to the playground and kids would tease me about being fat. At the time it didn't really hurt me but it's one of those moments that gets drilled into your brain for the rest of your life. My eating habits didn't help and my family didn't know much about nutrition. We ate meat and potatoes or pasta. Always with a bun or bread on the side. I became a big snacker too.

The summer before I went into high school, I decided to start walking every where instead of taking the bus or asking for a ride. I was back to being outside and active again like I was when I was 5. Without even meaning to, the weight started to slide off. When I went back to school everyone noticed and commented. It felt great to be complemented. Like monkey see - monkey do = I started paying attention to what my mom was saying about dieting and keeping up with the latest diet fads in magazines. I started to try diets, running and working out. It became natural to worry about what I was eating and how my body looked. I kept a pretty standard weight during high school but had poor eating habits. I would sometimes only have a slurpee for lunch because it was what I was craving and I didn't want to eating anything else as I was afraid of gaining weight.

The year after high school I became clinically depressed. I felt lost in life, my family became healthy so I no longer could be the care giver and I had a poisonous relationship with my boyfriend that I could not give up. I became very vulnerable and insecure. It didn't help that my boyfriend at the time was lets say "not so great" and more attracted to other girls. Feeling like I wasn't good enough (physically), I started to control my weight intensely. There wasn't a certain point when I began my deadly downwards spiral. Slowly I became anorexic. I started to lie to family and friends that I was perfectly fine and I was eating. Truth was, I wasn't okay. My lowest weight was 108lbs - 113lbs and I'm 5'8. I would eat one piece of fruit in the morning and a snack at night. I would also run or walk for 30min everyday. I stepped on the scale 3 times a day. I was obsessed and it was something I could control when I felt like I had no control over anything in life at that time. I was also receiving lots of attention, so it felt good and I couldn't see anything wrong. I look back now and I can say I looked so unhealthy and unattractive.

At my unhealthy lowest weight

I never went for help for my anorexia directly but I had gone to a naturopath for my depression. He had found that I was allergic to several common foods and I had a brain allergy to sugar. Once I had something new to focus my attention on and something to control, I slowly returned to a healthy weight. I gained a new interest in health and nutrition and started learn about how the food we eat tremendously affects how our brain functions and our bodies feel.


With my knowledge of health and fitness I now maintain a healthy weight and am not afraid to step on a scale. I understand that a healthy combination of mind, body and soul can bring happiness to your life. There's been times when my weight fluctuates due to stress or something in my life being out of balance. I've learnt how to reflect and make corrections. I love the way I feel inside and out when I'm eating healthy, working out and my life is in balance for me.

I want to help people feel alive and healthy!

Have you ever dealt with weight issues?
-Michelle

Friday, 5 October 2012

Weekend Warm-Up : Staycation

Roasted Butternut Squash via Oh She Glows
Happy Friday! Today is my last day of my "day job" before I head home for a stay-cation. I'm totally stoked for this. Luckily it came quickly for me and now I have the time to relax, rejuvenate and decompress for a while. I can't wait to catch up on blogs, write some new posts and study my butt off. Lately I haven't had the time to keep up to my goal of 3-4 blog posts per week because of school, work and everything else in between. This will also give me time to get outside and adventure on with my camera in hand.
 
This week I bought a new 2012 Ford Escape and am loving it. I think I might take a tiny road trip with just me and my camera and probably a dog to keep me company on the ride. On Saturday we are heading with a couple friends to go for a hike and then heading to dinner. I still haven't figured out how I'm going to look presentable to go for dinner after a hike?! With my natural wavy hair it loves to flop or go frizzy in the fall weather. I just might be rocking a sexy ponytail for dinner.

Any plans for the weekend?

Lovely Links: 
  • Needing to cleanse? Ambitious Kitchen created a green monster smoothie that's drool worthy.
  • Quinoa, Apple, Almonds and chickpeas - brilliant combo recipe
  • Steven Jobs passed away one year ago today. The man had an amazing outlook on life.
  • Looking for some new tunes to workout too? Fitsugar provides.
  • I've got to come clean... I'm a Martha Stewart fan. Here's her Whole-Wheat Turkey Stuffing. I've used her stuffing recipes many times for Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners.
A quote from my horoscope for all the ARIES people :
Don’t forget, o’ charging Ram: sometimes the most brilliant ideas can come from looking back.

Have a wonderful weekend! aaand Happy Thanksgiving fellow Canadians xo

-Michelle



Thursday, 4 October 2012

Thanksgiving & Gratitude

Sunflowers at Kits Whole Foods
This weekend here in Canada it's our Thanksgiving. My family usually gathers at my mom/grandparents house or my aunts house to dive into delicious food. This year though there's been a mix up in dates with my cousin's hockey tournament and my aunts family will be out of town. So my mom and I will be joining my boyfriends family on Sunday for a quiet Thanksgiving there. I'll miss my own family dinner but this will be nice to spend some time with his side of the family. I don't know if I'll be able to grab pictures of the thanksgiving spread before it's rummaged apart. It's good food over at the Kennedy's!

Like everyone else I find Thanksgiving a great time to slow down and appreciate the people around us. Ponder how the year has gone and what I'm looking forward to in the last few months of the year.

Do you take the time everyday to be grateful? Should we have to wait for Thanksgiving to share with family what we are thankful for? I think I'm going to suggest to my family the next time we gather all together for a meal that we say what we are thankful for. A new family tradition!

Practising gratitude every day can create a positive environment for you and the people surrounding you. Think about what happens when you roll through your gratitude list. Soon there's a smile on your face, your feeling a little lighter, you forget about the minuscule problems in life and fresh ideas pop into your head. People around you feel this energy. They notice a smile on your face and imitate it, thus creating a domino effect. Try starting your day with a gratitude note. It doesn't have to be perfect, it's just to get the ideas strolling through your head.

img via
My Personal Thanks:   I'm thankful for, are you ready for this one.....  My mom's tumour on her neck has decreased in size and the chemo has made the cancer in her lungs go from a black mass to a grey matter! Woohoo. I'm grateful treatment is working. I'm grateful she continues to laugh and smile (laughter reverses cancer - studies actually show!). I'm grateful for my family who unconditionally love and support me. I'm grateful that I have a soul mate who knows me so well and who continues to be there for me even when I get very aggressive or mad when there's waay to much going on in my head! I'm grateful for my job, new SUV (the perfect health coach mobile) and my health. I'm grateful for gaining knowledge to become a health coach so I can teach people that cancer is preventable: don't give Cancer the chance to be a part of your life.

Are you grateful for anything special this year?
-Michelle

Monday, 1 October 2012

Monday Review: Dog Photography

I got a little sneeky this weekend!

Meeka & Kailey
I've been taking my dogs to Uptown Dog (dog daycare) for years now. There I met an incredible person, Kelley. She recently opened up her own business on the side doing outdoor dog photography named Mutts Be Loved.  My mom had wanted to schedule a session with Mutts Be Loved before she was diagnosed with cancer but once the treatment started and the costs for medications came into effect there just wasn't room in our budget for a photo session. Kelley contacted me earlier this week and wanted to surprise my mom with a photo session with our dogs.


Kelley was incredible with the dogs and did an absolutely amazing job. She picked them up from my house and took Meeka & Kailey (our dogs) out to a couple parks and trails and began her camera magic. She quickly got the photos edited and we were able to print some out to surprise my mom with them on Sunday. My mom had no clue this surprise was coming except that I kept confirming with her that we were having coffee at 1pm exactly so she thought something was off (silly me). Kelley presented them to her and she instantly started to cry.... and of course made the rest of us tear up. It truly touched our hearts how thoughtful it was of Kelley to do this for my mom. Every bit of happiness and positivity added to her day will make a difference. Seeing those incredible pictures of her dogs will add a smile to her face all the time.


It's beautiful the affect animals can have on our wellbeing. A simple touch to a dog can calm your heart rate and bring a softness to your own body. My mom has told me that Kaily & Meeka have been an important part of her healing process. They've been there for her during the rough nights of being sick and they lean up against her when she needs a hug. Now when I'm babysitting them and she's missing them she can look at these pictures too.

Thanks again Kelley! - Mutts Be Loved (facebook page)

-Michelle

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Did You Know? : Milk

you are not my mother - img via
I remember the days when I was little and we had milk in our cereal every morning and a glass of milk with every dinner. These days I reach for the Almond Milk. Oh how times have changed.
Over the last couple of years I've learnt more and more about milk and how it actually isn't that great for our bodies. Just recently though I discovered my last tad of knowledge about the side effects of milk that sent me into the "Absolutely No Milk" category.

Did you know?

  • We are the only mammal that drinks milk from a different mammal? We are naturally only supposed to drink our own milk. Milk from a cow is meant to make a calf grow 8 times it's birth weight by it's 1st birthday. Calves grow to be 1000-2000lb animals! Babies also require milk from their mothers to grow quickly in the first few years of life but don't require cow's milk to continue growing afterwards.

  • You don't require milk to get your calcium intake for the day. You can actually receive more calcium from other sources. Sesame seeds contain 90mg per tablespoon, 1 cup of broccoli contains 178mg and 1/2 cup of Tofu contains 258mg. The average daily dose recommended is between 700-1000mg. It's also not bad to take a calcium supplement if you are lacking calcium. People don't realize that we consume a lot of our calcium through our food we eat.

  • It has been found that the majority of the world population is lactose intolerant (lactose is found in cows milk). Being lactose intolerant causes upset stomachs, digestive problems and unnecessary bloating. So why do we want those symtoms?


Now here's the fact that pushed me over:

  • A majority of cows are milked while they are pregnant. This meaning that we take in a very large amount of hormones from the cow. These hormones can't be filtered out and have a great effect on our bodies. In studies this has shown to increase the risk of cancers, especially breast cancer.

img via
If you are still needing that "milk" in your cereal or coffee why not switch to Almond Milk? One cup of Silk Almond milk (unsweetened) contains 45% of your daily recommend intake of calcium.

Do you drink milk? Have you ever thought about switching over to Almond or Soy milk?

-Michelle

P.S. -This was in no way endorsed by Silk or any other Soy Milk or Almond Milk Company. This is solely based on my personal studies and findings.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Weekend Warm-Up : Extended Summer

Here in Vancouver we are having an Indian Summer and supposedly it's lasting for another 60 days. Good news to me. I'm not a fan of the rain. Yes, I know, I live in Vancouver, rain city.

img via
 This week I started off with some slight back pain but thought I would push through it because I joined a new gym (Trevor Linden gym). Well it was really stupid on my part and I ended up hobbling around feeling like someone was constantly ringing out my spine like a wet towel. Ouch! So I dedicated some time to get rid of the pain instead of the gym. A little meditation and yoga hit the spot. My back pain is usually caused my an emotional blockage (ie.stress). Every time I try to convince myself that it's an actual physical injury and try to stretch and massage the heck out it. This method only equals complete failure. Once I calm down and realize it's stress I take the right steps. Stubborn Aries here!

This Saturday I'm heading to the car dealership. I'm thinking of getting a Ford Escape. The 2012, not the new 2013. The new one reminds me more of mini van. I've actually wanted an Escape for years and years but always ended up with something different. My car right now is incredibly non functional for me. Only 2 doors and does not have room for any dogs. It's also awful on gas so hopefully I say good bye to the nice car and hello Escape.


Lovely Links:
  • an update for your morning granola. Pumpkin Granola for the Fall season. Yum!
  • actual legit reasons to skip your gym session. Listen to your body.
  • i've mentioned having warm lemon water in the morning before and here are some more reasons why.
  • completely agree with this movie date tip. Maybe try it out this weekend?

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!
-Michelle

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Travel : Cresent Beach, White Rock

I love the beach, the ocean and sun. It lives inside of me and I have an instant smile and calmess when my toes feel the sand beneath them.

There's a small town called Cresent Beach which is located in White Rock. White Rock is 40 minutes south from downtown Vancouver. White Rock also borders Washington, US. Cresent Beach a very laid back community with a majority of the residents being weatlhy retired people. The funny thing is that all the new aged hippies flock to Cresent Beach. It's full of yoga studios, unknown amazing restaurants and cute organic cafes. There is one main street which holds them all. At the end of the main street is the beach.

When I took time off during 2011 to venture into different industries in the business world, I would take my dogs along the path that follows Cresent Beach on days I had free. Hearing the waves crash against the shore cleared my mind and allowed me to let go of the stress of the day. I always loved going with my mom to Cresent Beach for a nice long walk and end up grabbing sweet hard ice cream at the end of our journey.

A couple weeks ago my mom and I wandered over to Cresent Beach just to sit by the ocean so we could take in the soft sounds and scents of the ocean. Afterwards we headed down to our favourite organic cafe, Sunflower. They have the best muffins I've ever had and they aren't tiny! We split a moist Blueberry Peach muffin and sipped on their delicious Saltspring Island coffee. Everything is handmade right there in the cafe and everyone who works there is incredibly down to earth. There's no other cafe where you feel like you're at home like Sunflower.

This time I spent with my mom was eye opening to me. It was a time when it really hit me how the chemo is affecting my mom. We used to be able to take long walks but now the walks have turned into strolls. The positive I take from this is that it makes us slow down in life. Appreciate each word spoken to each other. Appreciate the small things around us that we take for granted. Like the grapes we found in the garden patio in the back of a small bistro that we would have never seen before. Although this pains me to see her feel confined by the cancer at the moment, I know this will soon be over and she'll be right back to where she was. There's lessons to be learned right now and then it's time to move on with the positive healthy future.

Never forget to be in the present moment and appreciate the people and things around you.

-Michelle 

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Healthy Weight: Tips for Healthy Grocery Shopping

I wish I could shop at the organic grocery store or farmers market every time but I can't so I've learnt how to make the best of it at the Supermarket.

fresh veggies from the market

Have you ever noticed that every grocery store (supermarket) is set up the same way? It's no coincidence. People have been paid to figure how our thinking works and lead us to parts of the store that are more profitable to them. Where do they make the most money? Middle isles and at the till. The problem for us is that these areas are the most unhealthy areas in the whole store.

Here are some tips on how to shop healthy at the grocery store:

  • Avoid middle isles: the middle isles contain products that can sit on the shelves for long amounts of time and almost everything has been processed (no real nutrients). This meaning the products have chemicals and preservatives so they don't rot. Chemicals don't belong in our bodies.
  • Keep it Fresh: The perimeter of the store will have fresh fruit & vegetables, fresh bread, meat, seafood and frozen products that have been frozen while still fresh. No this does not mean that the frozen pizza or microwave meal is good for you. I'm talking about the frozen peas, carrots etc.
  • Try to avoid going to the grocery store when hungry: I know oh too well that it leads to disaster - "I'll have one of these and one of those". Not only do you make unhealthy choices but you also spend unnecessary large amounts of money. Ever had a someone come back from the store with an extra 5 things that weren't on the list? I wonder why lol.
  • Be ready for the checkout: If you know you are extremely tempted by those pesky candy bars and gum then come prepared with a tiny bag of trail mix or carrots. I like to grab a magazine while waiting in line so I'm not staring directly at 30 different types of chocolate.
  • All Natural - Gluten Free - Sugar Free, etc.: Just because the label reads that it's free of something doesn't make it healthy. It can still be full of preservatives and still be highly processed. Make sure to read the label and try to buy boxed/canned products that only have 5 or less ingredients. Keep it real!

Where do you wish you could grocery shop?

-Michelle

Friday, 14 September 2012

Healthy Weight : Keeping Smoothies Skinny

Beware: Smoothies are usually considered a meal and I'm a Smoothie Freak! Love em!
 
Smoothie Art
A large percentage of smoothies that are offered at on-the-go places have the same amount of calories as a meal. Liquid calories can be dangerous! There is also a large amount of sugar in smoothies (natural or added) and should be consumed in the morning or early afternoon so your body can burn off all that extra energy/sugar.

There's also healthy smoothies and then there's "smoothies" which are actually just milkshakes in disguise. Smoothies can be a great meal replacement if made correctly and be amazingly beneficial to your health. Adding Kale into your smoothie everyday is an easy way to get those extra greens.







A run down of some of the smoothies offered at "on-the-go" places:
Jugo Juice - a fav "on the go" one
Mc Donald's Peach Smoothie - 545g serving
320 calories / 70g carbohydrates (sugar) / 65g of sodium

Dairy Queen/Orange Julius - Strawberry Banana - 587g serving
320 calories / 82g carbs / added sugar and fructose corn syrup

Booster Juice - Mango Hurricane - 24oz
336 calories / 78g carbs (sugar)

Starbucks Strawberry Banana Smoothie (soy) - Grande
290 calories / 58g carbs (sugar)

To give you an understanding of how it compares to a restaurant breakfast:
A waffle at IHOP (no syrup/no butter) is
310 calories / 37g of carbs



Now I'm not saying go grab a waffle instead of a smoothie but I'm showing you that a smoothie is pretty much a meal and can sometimes be considered an unhealthy meal if you don't know what's going into it.

The BEST thing to do : Make them at home so you know what is going into them and how much is going into them. That way you can also make meal sized or snack size.

Here's an example of a smoothie I make at home most mornings for breakfast:
  
Magic Bullet - your best friend in the kitchen!

  • 1 small frozen banana
  • Handful of frozen mango chunks
  • Handful of blackberries
  • Large handful of Kale
  • 1 scoop of Vega (Natural) Energizing Protein Powder
  • 1 tablespoon of Flax Seeds
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of almond milk
Blend! and slurp!

Amazing added ingredients for smoothies:

Kale : High in Vitamins A, C & K. Great source of Iron and fights fatigue. I can notice a huge awesome difference in my skin when I add Kale.
Flax Seeds: Great source of fibre and Omega 3's.
Chia Seeds: High in calcium, iron and magnesium. They also contain Omega 3's.
Coconut Water: Filled with potassium and 5 different electrolytes. My favourite brand is Zico.

To milk or not to milk?
I'm not a fan of using milk but instead I like to use almond milk or soy milk. I find that milk is not easily digested by anyone and causes more harm then good.

What do you put into your smoothies? Are you a smoothie lover?

-Michelle

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