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Month: February 2014

Food vs Sex

paleo-fig-fudge-balls-plate

A few weeks ago I teamed up with Natures Fare Markets to give you some tips on how to improve your sex drive and balance your hormones. I want to continue on that topic and talk about how the food you eat is directly related to your performance in the bedroom. Improper food choices can add stress to our hormone levels, much like the stresses of work, parenting etc. I hear the statement “I eat pretty healthy” all the time, so I want to talk about the possible effects some “healthy choices” may have on your libido and hormones.

AVOID…

Flavoured Yogurt

Eating raw or plain yogurt with natural probiotic can be a benefit to your body, but any other type of yogurt, especially flavoured, is typically altered, which our gut responds to negatively causing an upset in our system. When our stomach isn’t operating properly, we lose the ability to correctly process foods and leave our body in a lurch. Flavoured yogurt is often loaded with sugars which translates very quickly into fat. Long story short, keep it plain or raw.

Coffee

This one is hard to discuss, because both you and I love coffee. Problem is, coffee can alter our estrogen levels and cause us to store fat in some unflattering places. Do you have a few trouble spots on your body that will not go away no matter how skinny you are or how much muscle you put on? Try giving up coffee for a period of time and help clean out your negative estrogen stores.

Deli Meats

Deli meat is filled with chemicals to keep it preserved and fresh tasting. Truth is it’s anything but fresh! Rather than list off all the crazy ingredients that could be in your meat, I’ll focus on 1 that is in 90% of all deli and packaged meats…NITRATES! In processed meats and especially hot dogs, nitrates have been linked to serious illness in adults, including some forms of cancer. The answer is easy, steer clear of processed meats!

Low Quality Protein Powder

When you buy a protein product in large quantities for a low price, you are most likely drinking a glass filled with chemicals, fillers and tons of other fun substances. This can cause your body and hormones to go crazy while trying to figure out what to do with these foreign substances. Plain and simple, spend the money on high-quality protein.

Eating Fruits And Vegetables WITHOUT Washing First

The companies that are spraying our fruits and vegetables with pesticides and chemicals instruct their employees to wear a full bodysuit while going about their work. And if they are to come in contact with these chemicals,to immediately seek medical attention. Sounds delicious! Use a natural vegetable wash, soak if possible, and always try to buy local organic produce.

ADD…

Figs! According to Dr. Nalini Chilkov, L.Ac., O.M.D, figs have been prized as a sensual food for their resemblance of the female sex organs. The ancient Greeks valued figs more precious than gold and many cultures associated figs with fertility. Try and toss back a few figs before drawing the blinds and see what happens!

Here is one of my favourite snacks to help increase your libido and boost energy levels.

Paleo Fig Fudge Ballspaleo-fig-fudge-balls

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup raw almond butter
  • 1 cup dried figs
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean
  • 1 tbsp raw honey
  • 4 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 1 tsp kosher sea salt

DIRECTIONS

Mix all ingredients in a food processor/blender (except coconut flakes)

Roll mixture into small 1″ balls.

Roll each ball in the coconut flakes until the outside is covered.

Place balls in the fridge or freezer in an air tight container for 1 hour, pull out and ENJOY!

Paleo Yam Salad

paleo-yam-salad

The truth is, I love hot dogs! But before you run out and eat some “street meat” claiming that I said you could, you’ll have to let me clarify. In order to avoid the negative nitrates and interesting mystery meats, we head to Natures Fare Markets and pick up their organic Turkey or Chicken dogs. They taste amazing and my boys love them! Toss them on the BBQ or cook them up in a pan, either way these tasty dogs will definitely hit the spot.

Tonight we cooked Chicken dogs with raw sauerkraut and an amazing Paleo yam salad (see recipe below). Bursting with flavour, this salad was easy to make and oh so enjoyable to eat!

paleo-dinner

Paleo Yam Salad

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 Cups spinach or kale
  • 1 yam cut into cubes
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • half purple onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp rosemary

DIRECTIONS

Baste yam cubes in 1 tbsp coconut oil and place in the oven at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

In a skillet, cook minced garlic and purple onion until brown. Add the rosemary for the last few seconds of cooking.

Mix oil, red wine vinegar and onion/garlic mixture together and spread over the spinach/kale.

Once yams are done, allow to cool for a few moments, add to the salad and enjoy!

You could also add quinoa to this salad to make it a meal.

If you loved this Paleo Yam Salad, click here to visit our Paleo Diet page to learn more about how to eat Paleo!

Free Video Blog: Ballerina Leg Workout (1/5)

Ballerina Leg Workout with Luki Dance

Upon meeting Lucy, you cannot help but be inspired by her passion for dance and her eagerness to educate. The “dancers leg” is something many of us desire with it’s length, strength and graceful movements. I have been training my legs for years, and in the short time that I spent with Lucy, I got completely schooled! If you have never tried a ballet workout, you are in for a real treat! Lucy taught me things that have already brought great value to my training and technique, and has helped improve my yoga and bar practice. I started implementing a few very simple suggestions she had for me, like pressing into the floor with your feet, pulling your body in both directions and keeping everything active. No sloppy arms or legs! Literally 10 minutes into my first ballet workout my legs were shaking so bad I thought I was going to have to quit.

Lucy, originally from the UK, has studied at the highest level in Dance & Performing Arts. Her professional career has put her on stage performing at some of the most prestigious theatres and dance companies.  Since arriving in Canada, Lucy has worked as a teacher, choreographer and performer. She strives to pass on her extensive knowledge and experience, with her goal being to make the performing arts accessible to all. Lucy now resides in Kelowna, BC where she began LUKI Dance Productions in 2011. Luki Dance Productions is a unique and diverse company offering many forms of dance entertainment: from corporate events to theatre productions, wedding dance choreography,  master classes, dance competitions, workshops/intensives and a pre-professional training program for ages 17+. Whatever your dance and performance needs, LUKI has you covered! Stay up to date with Lucy on Twitter @LUKIdancepro or on Facebook.

Sweet Treats For The Cookie Addict

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There is a good chance that I was sleep-walking for the majority of the day today. McCarthy and Bennett are both fighting colds which kept them up throughout the night last night, hence my serious lack of sleep. My training schedule had a client starting at 6am, which didn’t allow for much “catch-up sleep” this morning either, so we decided to lay low today. When my little men are feeling under the weather, I do my best to put life on hold and focus on snuggling them. We usually pop a big bowl of popcorn and watch the Pixar movie Cars (for the 347th time), but today I switched it up and made some yummy little cookies instead. These tasty little treats are quick and easy to make, with no oven required! Enjoy ~~*

no-bake-cookies

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup white kidney beans
  • 1/3 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla bean
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey
  • 1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips (or skip the chips and add cacao powder)

DIRECTIONS:

Place all ingredients (excluding the chocolate chips/cacao powder) into your blender. I ended up doing a combination of vanilla extract and vanilla bean for this round. The extract helped with moisture for mixing in the blender.

Once mixed, divide the dough into two bowls and mix the chocolate chips into one bowl and the raw cacao powder in the other.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and scoop the dough on with a tablespoon to the desired size.

Place in freezer for 1 hour, remove and enjoy!

Valentines Day Treats

valentines-day-heartHappy Belated Valentines Day!

I hope you all are enjoying your weekend with the ones you love.  I kicked off my Valentines day with seeing some of my favourite people in the world, my personal training clients! For me, Valentines day is not all about the Hallmark cards and the big bouquets (although my husband did knock it out of the park this year!) It’s about celebrating the people we love! My clients have become family to me. They have cheered me on through opening a business, becoming a mother and have stood by me through good and bad times alike. Every week I’m so thankful for the people who have chosen to have me come along side them as they reach for their goals. I truly appreciate and love you all.

One of my favourite things to do is to bake for my loved ones. I thoroughly enjoy taking an unhealthy recipe, swapping in some healthy ingredients, and in the end proving you can eat healthy without giving up flavour.  After many e-mails and comments asking for more recipes, I thought I would share a few treats from yesterday.

Enjoy!

valentines-day-treatsHomemade Dark Chocolate Chunks with Fleur de Sel

The new and improved Chocolate for Breakfast. I stuck to the original recipe, the only thing I added in honour of Valentines Day was 1 TBSP Maca powder for an extra dash of love

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup quality organic coconut oil –  Note: if you do not want your chocolate to taste “coco-nutty”, you can opt for quality refined expeller-pressed coconut oil, which does not have a coconut flavour.
  • 3/4 cup organic Cacao powder
  • 3/4 cup liquid sweetener—honey, maple syrup,organic molasses, or a mix
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract OR a good scraping of vanilla beans
  • 1 TBSP Maca powder
  • A pinch of salt (can omit if you’ll be salting the finished chocolate with fleur de sel)
  • Optional: Fleur de sel (this is a fancy, flaky, delightfully special salt to be sprinkled onto treats like chocolates or caramels

Directions:

Melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan, then add in the rest of the ingredients (except the fleur de sel). Whisk together thoroughly.

To make chunky dark chocolate bars, line a baking dish with parchment paper, and pour in the chocolate. Refrigerate until hardened (it doesn’t take very long). Then, either cut into bars or break into chunks. If you want to add a sprinkling of fleur de sel, do so! It’s delightful! Be sure to store your chocolate in the refrigerator or even the freezer so it doesn’t melt. Coconut oil liquefies at 76 degrees.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 2 squares of dark chocolate
  • 1 TBSP of honey
  • 2 TSP Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 cup egg whites (make sure you use the 100% egg whites, pasteurized)
  • 1 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk

Directions:

Place all ingredients in large bowl. Mix well, roll into balls, place in freezer on parchment paper for 2 hours and enjoy!

Makes 15 balls, only 45 calories per ball!

 

Sexual Healing

sexual-healing

Happy Valentines Day!

When Natures Fare and I were brainstorming ideas for February blog posts, I decided to focus on a few questions I commonly get emailed to me. Warning, this is not going to be your typical warm and fuzzy Valentines post. I’m not going to tell you what frilly underwear you should wear for your date tonight or the perfect sex position to keep things going all night long. First of all, I already have the perfect underwear picked out. Secondly, who has all night?

natures-fare-marketsToday I’m going to start with the question, “Why don’t I feel like having sex?” and significant role that hormones play in answering this question. When trying to increase your sexual health, the first step is to consider what foods you are putting into your body. Some of the top sex-drive killers are refined foods such as, gluten, soy , fried foods and dairy. Many people are highly sensitive to these types of foods which can often interrupt many pathways and processes in the body affecting sexual health and hormone levels. Rather than try and give you a science lesson, Sarah from Natures Fare and I broke this down into some simple tips to help you increase your sexual health. The following are some foods that will help balance your hormones and increase your libido.

Pumpkin Seeds. These tasty little seeds help increase testosterone levels which is especially helpful for men and women alike who struggle with higher than normal estrogen levels.

Any fermented foods such as Kombucha, sauerkraut, and Kefir. These foods help to increase sex hormones, decrease estrogen and help with digestion. Drink Kombucha on a empty stomach in between meals (my favourite is third eye chai). Add sauerkraut to your salads at dinnertime. Sauerkraut is a huge asset to our digestive system. To maximize the benefits of sauerkraut, eat it with your greens before you digest protein or carbs.

There are also some great supplements that will help get your hormones back to healthy levels.

photo (3)Maca Energy (Preferred Nutrition ) is number 1 on our suggestion list! It’s safe to use for all ages. It balances hormones and increases energy and libido. Maca comes in powder form for your protein shakes or in caplet form. You can add Maca to your chocolate for breakfast recipe or pick up Vega’s Macas chocolate (great valentines gift.)

Sarah’s thoughts…

Maca is a well-known and powerful adaptogen, which means that it is a substance that helps to increase the body’s natural resistance to environmental stresses. Traditional uses for maca include increasing energy, balancing hormone levels, supporting healthy thyroid functioning, reducing stress, enhancing sexual function, and relieving the symptoms of menopause and PMS.2 Recently, human clinical studies have provided convincing scientific evidence supporting the effectiveness of maca for many of these uses. For example, supplementation with maca root has been shown to have significant benefits for balancing hormone levels, improving sexual desire and function, increasing fertility,improving mood and reducing various symptoms of menopause.

 

vitexVitex (Natural Factors) helps increase progesterone and balance hormones in woman. It increase sex drive and is helpful in increasing fertility.

Sarah’s thoughts…

Many menstrual problems are traced to deficient progesterone production during the second half of the menstrual cycle, called the luteal phase. Insufficient progesterone during this phase results in estrogen dominance, leading to a shortening of the luteal phase, (called luteal phase defect). A shortened luteal phase with too much estrogen and not enough progesterone can cause heavy periods, scanty periods, too frequent periods or no periods at all. Prolactin, another pituitary hormone, may also be elevate during this time, causing breast tenderness and pain, classic symptoms of PMS. Vitex is not a phytoestrogen, rather it works through the hypothalamus-pituitary axis, (an important chemical pathway) to balance female hormones. Vitex extract has been extensively studied in Europe, particularly Germany, where it has been used since the 1950’s. Clinical studies show that vitex extract reduces headaches, breast tenderness, bloating, fatigue, cravings for sweets, feeling of anxiety and irritability, depression and mood swings, often after only one month. Vitex is also recommended for teenage acne.

male-energyMale Energy (Brand King) is essential for hormone protection as it eliminates harmful hormones.

Sarah’s thoughts…

Numerous men experience a negative body transition with advancing age known as Andropause. Andropause is often described as “A noticeable decline in male hormone levels, often with the accompaniment of high estrogen levels. It is often these negative forms of estrogen—called 16 hydroxy estrogens—that create a host of problems within a man’s body, making it extremely difficult to maintain a healthy metabolism. Andropause is often associated with: loss of muscle mass and strength and increased belly fat, low energy, poor concentration, irritability, depression, decreased interest in sex and/or erectile dysfunction, among others.

 

I hope these tips give you some valuable insight on how to increase your sexual health. My next few blog posts will be focused on how to better your sex life, with tips on activities and foods to help bring balance to your mind and body, so that you can focus on the one you’re with, and not your list of things to do!!

Happy lovers day!