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Vegan Chocolate Protein Brownies

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These brownies are one of our current go to breakfast options. They are simple, delicious and also add a little bit of extra protein into your day. Recently I started doubling the recipe and using them as dessert served with Earnest Ice Creams vegan “strawberry toasted coconut ice cream”. Earnest Ice Cream has some of the most delicious flavours of vegan ice cream and has become one of our favourite spots for date night with the kids.

I hope you guys enjoy this delicious and healthier treat;)

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Vegan Protein Brownies:

  • 1 TBSP Flax meal
  • 3 TBSP water
  • 1 Cup Gluten free perfect blend baking mix from Natures Fare Market
  • 1 TSP baking soda
  • 3 Very ripe bananas (mashed)
  • 1/3 Cup coconut oil melted
  • 3/4 Cup coconut sugar
  • 1 TSP Vanilla extract
  • 3/4 Cup vegan chocolate chips
  • 2-3 (Depending on how much protein you want to add)
  • Scoops Genuine health chocolate protein powder

Directions:

Mix flax seed & water together and allow to sit for 2-3 minutes to form a egg like substance.

Once the flax seed has set, mix all ingredients together in a medium sized bowl.

Spray a 8×11 pan with coconut oil and pour mixture into pan.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Enjoy with vegan ice cream or yogurt for a breakfast option.

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Improving Your Health From The Inside Out With Sproos

All it takes is one big injury to forcibly regain focus on the health of one’s body. These past few months have been an intense battle with inflammation, stomach issues and to top it all off, a bulging disc! The reality is injury is not only caused by the stress we place on our bodies in our workout, but also the stress we hold in our bodies. There have been many areas I have focused on healing over these past few months, but one of my main focuses has been my gut. So much of what is happening to us emotionally stems from our gut and our ability to process foods correctly, as well as flush toxins from our body. Giving our body the proper support it needs to recover from workouts, carry our children around and clean our homes is essential!

Collagen was something I started to introduce into my diet after doing some research on the benefits of its anti-inflammatory properties. When comparing collagen brands, Sproos quickly rose to the top of my list. While sourcing the highest quality ingredients, Sproos has a simple approach to health that doesn’t include all types of pills and confusing labels. It’s literally one scoop, once a day…and you’re done! High quality collagen has the ability to restore the balance in our digestive tract, which is a major player in reducing inflammation in our bodies. When we reduce inflammation, we can recover at a quicker rate from our workouts, digest food properly leading to increased nutritional benefits, and reduce the risk of injury and disease.

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Collagen is one of the most common proteins in the body, but due to the cultural shift to eating leaner meats or plant-based diets, we often miss the benefits of the collagen that comes from more dense bones and fattier meats. While collagen helps to improve our hair, skin and nails, collagen also contains glycine, an amino acid with proven anti-inflammatory and immune boosting  effects which works below the surface of our skin as well.

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Some additional benefits of collagen:
•plays an important role in maintaining skin elasticity
•connective tissue flexibility
•bone strength.
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This green smoothie recipe is my current gut jump start! Check out Sproos and their wide variety of collagen products.

  • 1 Cup none dairy milk
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 tbsp raw almond butter
  • 2 large handfuls of spinach
  • 1 scoop Sproos collagen
  • 1 scoop vegan protein powder

Blend with ice and enjoy!

Fighting inflammation and reducing fatigue is one of the best ways to not only improve our health but also our performance during workouts. Having a consistent workout routine plays such a huge part in eliminating mental stress and increasing positive endorphins to the body, but on the flip side, it also puts stress on our muscles and increases lactic acid buildup. If we aren’t fuelling our body correctly, our workouts can start to break our body down instead of supporting it.

When our bodies don’t have the proper nutrition for the demand we place on our systems during workouts we risk fatigue, injury and potential damage to our hormones. I’m sure you’ve heard the term “You can’t out-work a poor diet.” In a lot of ways this statement is very true. When it comes to fitness and health, we always want to approach our plan of action with the mindset of setting ourselves up for longevity, not a quick fix. If we approach our food and fitness thinking long term we will not only feel better physically and mentally, we will also reap the long term benefits of less aches, body breakdown and inflammation.

I often get asked about pre and post workout drinks. If I use them? What would I recommend?

Although I have used different forms of stimulants in the past, I totally stay away from them for many reasons now! The boost of a stimulant is a short term gain which typically results in a very negative long term result. Whether it’s caffeine or another form of stimulant you’re using before your workouts, these energy boosting products often lead to damaged adrenal systems, anxiety, mood swings, poor skin and gut issues. So what are some delicious, natural ways of boosting our energy pre and post workout.

When I started weaning myself off stimulants, I decided instead of focusing on what I was going to have to give up, I would get excited about what I would get to put into my body! I decided in order to kick things like coffee, I would actually have to totally give up warm drinks for a season to re-train my body to crave fresh water and juices in the morning. In order to change our habits, we need to change our mindsets and avoid the pleasure traps we have created for ourselves. This process worked surprisingly well for me, and also inspired me to really focus on what I was giving my body for energy pre and post workout.

Juicing is one the best ways to quickly get nutrition into our muscles and blood stream. It’s also a great way to personalize exactly what your body needs for the season you are in. Whether you are long distance running, weight training or going through a period of light workouts for detoxing, There is a juice for you.

 

So what juices should you be drinking pre and post workout?

Before we workout we want to give our body a little bit of sugar for energy but also combine the natural sugars with fiber and vegetables that help our body to fight inflammation.

This anti-inflammation juice recipe from Blender Girl is one of my current favorites for my pre-workout drink. It’s the perfect combination of greens, a little zest from the ginger and just the right amount of sweet.

 

  • 1 pear, cored
  • 1 green apple, cored
  • 2 ribs celery
  • 1/2 lemon, peeled
  • 2 1/2 cups romaine lettuce
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1-inch knob ginger root, plus more to taste

Try to purchase organic produce if possible. This way you can get the extra fiber from the skin being left on. If they are not organic, make sure to peel your vegetables and fruit.

 

Directions:

Wash all items before juicing and enjoy immediately to get the most nutrition out of the juice.

 

 

For post workout, I love juices that are packed with tons of vitamins and minerals to re-fuel my body from the stress that has been placed on my system.

Things like celery hearts are amazing for reducing post workout inflammation and beets have nitrates to help bring more oxygen to the blood aiding in quicker recovery.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 large organic beet peeled and quartered
  • 2 organic celery hearts – rinsed with ends cut
  • 2 organic romaine lettuce hearts
  • 8 organic carrots

Activated Charcoal Smoothie

A couple of weeks ago I got food poisoning. I literally have never been that sick in my life. I will spare you the details but lets just say I basically camped out on and over the toilet for 10 hours.

In the process of being sick I posted on Instagram asking anyone if they knew how to get their gut back on track after food poisoning. Countless people messaged me saying to drink or take activated charcoal. I knew somewhere in my house there was a little bottle of activated charcoal from Organika sitting waiting for me but in my sick delusion I could not locate it nor stand up for 48 hours.

Since being sick my stomach has not been the same. Everything was stripped out of my gut and I have had to repair and re-build. In this process my stomach has been crazy bloated, I have had trouble staying regular (Sorry TMI) and I feel exhausted from feeling like my body is working overtime to process food.

It was defiantly time for some activated charcoal.

 

Many studies show that when taken internally, activated charcoal can improve our digestive health and immune system by helping to remove metals and toxins that cause us to have allergic reactions. It also helps to flush out viruses and parasites we may have floating around in our system. Activated charcoal also helps to cleanse the pesticides from foods, everyday chemicals and pollution from the air. These types of chemicals often affect not only our body’s energy and immune system but also things like our hair, skin, and nails. People will often see an increase in energy, the ability to fight off sickness, and a reduction in bloating or gas due to the gut support activated charcoal gives to the body.

After reading up on activated charcoal I decided to try out a few recipes and remedies to help my body get back on track.

My first experiment was charcoal lemonade…I drank a little too much we will just say that;)

Some tips I learned for us charcoal virgins.

1)The cleansing benefits of charcoal are amazing but you can also over do it! So make sure you are drinking lots of water and start off with small amounts.

2)Also do not take other supplements within 3 hours of drinking the charcoal or taking charcoal. One of the amazing benefits of charcoal is that it attaches itself to toxins cleansing them out of the body, but it can also attach itself to nutrition our body needs such as supplements . SO be mindful of the times you drink or eat charcoal.

3)Prior to ingesting activated charcoal, consult a physician or health expert to determine whether it is appropriate for your condition, and to ascertain the appropriate dosage.

Troy and i both have been working on our gut health so I decided to make this as an option for this weekend’s dessert. This can be made into a smoothie with fresh bananas or ice cream by simply freezing the bananas.

Enjoy!

Activated Charcoal Smoothie

Check out my little prep video on Instagram. Leave your comments and questions! I want to hear what your experience has been with activated charcoal.

Ingredients:

2 bananas

2 tbsp peanut butter

2-4 tbsp (depending on how thick you want it) coconut milk

1 tsp Organika activated charcoal

Topping options:

chocolate chips

chocolate coconut flakes

coconut whip cream

Smoothie version

Blend until smooth and serve immediately.

Ice cream

Blend till smooth and place in freezer until firm (about 2 hours) then serve!

Valentines Day Grapefruit Bowls

It’s funny looking back at the days of no children, sleeping in and every romantic holiday/moment revolving around us. Troy and I have never been big on Valentines Day, but children change you and watching them learn to love people is probably one of the greatest gifts we are given as parents. The special bonds they create or the ways they include others that are left out is enough to melt any moms heart into pieces. So fast forward 10 years (almost 11 ) into marriage and we are all about Valentines Day or any other sappy holiday that reminds our children to put others before themselves.

In the process of teaching them to craft gifts for school (which I suck at) I’ve also started my own little traditions of special breakfasts, fun gifts and special treats to make them feel special. Today’s after school snack was geared to impress the boys taste buds and awe Adelaide with my use of pink flowers 😉 I originally got this recipe from Sugar and Cloth but decided to re-work it a little bit to get a tad more nutrition in it for the kids. This smoothie is packed with Vitamin C, Omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins and immune boosting minerals.

I made a huge batch and then froze the left-overs for snacks this week.This smoothie is also an excellent post workout snack! Throw it in your Swell bottle and bring one for the road.

Enjoy~~*

Ingredients

3 Grapefruits

1 large orange

2 frozen bananas

1 cup frozen cherries

1/2 cup Prana chia seeds

Toppings: Cashew pieces, granola, coconut flakes,

dried fruit, bee pollen, flowers etc

Instructions

First make the grapefruit bowls by slicing the top third off each grapefruit. Run a pairing knife around the edge,loosening the fruit. Then, use a serrated spoon/grapefruit spoon to gently remove the fruit and juice. I scooped the fruit right into the blender to make it easier and conserve as much juice as possible.

Place all remaining ingredients in blender in mix till it has a smooth but thicker consistency. If it’s too thin just add more bananas or chia seeds to thicken.

Immediately pour the smoothie in the grapefruit bowls and decorate with your favourite toppings.

 

Enjoy~~*

 

A Healthy Balance

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Setting realistic health goals can be a challenge, and it’s also one of the most important things you will do for your body this upcoming year. I know personally I can often over think the process and in the past have set goals or restrictions on myself that only set me up for failure, leaving my body feeling depleted and on the verge of a physical or mental breakdown.

So how do we find a healthy balance? First of all we need to accept the fact that fitness is always a journey and we are always evolving. What worked last year may not work this year, and change is good not only physically but for our mental wellbeing as well. Maybe you’ve always gone to the same fitness class. Maybe you have always run the same road. Whatever your story may be, your body knows it. Maybe this upcoming year, instead of telling yourself you’re going to hit the gym 6 days a week, find a workout that brings you life. My goal this year is to take my workouts outside 1 day a week. No matter the weather, no matter the time of day. My goal is to experience every season! Studies show that even 10 minutes a day outdoors improves our mental state. When we are healthy mentally our bodies response in positive ways and trigger amazing hormones to keep us going and keep us enjoying life.

Here are some of the big questions I often get asked when it comes time to set health and fitness goals:

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1) Do you need to workout every day to see results?

No, and I would really discourage these types of habits. Our bodies need time to heal and recover from the tension we place on them in workouts. If you’re just starting out I would recommend 2-3 times a week. Start slow and try lots of different styles of fitness to really find what suites you best.

If you’re more advanced, maybe you need to step your fitness up a bit to see results. I would recommend switching up your routine. Something as simple as swapping out a bootcamp class for a set of up hill sprints or adding a power yoga class in exchange for the token spin class you always hit up, may just be the adjustment your body needs to take your fitness to another level.

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2) Is working out for multiple hours at a time necessary?

Short answer is, NO! First off, you need to figure out what your goal is. Do you want to train for a endurance race, become a triathlete or just feel better and more energized in your own skin? Once you have nailed down your goal, do some research to determine what class or program will be the best for you. The workout I’ve included in this article is an awesome way to switch it up. Get outside and boost your energy!! There are countless studies that show that short powerful workouts have countless positive effects on our bodies and mental states .

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3) How do I plan my workouts?

Heading to the gym, park, or sweating it out in the comfort of your own home is going to be twice as hard to get motivated for without a plan. Lack of planning also increases rest breaks, wandering minds, and our workouts are overall less effective. Here is something I always stick to when planning my workouts:

  • Compound movements (works upper and lower body)
  • A mixture of cardio and strength
  • 4-5 movements (keep it simple)
  • Timed or planned reps (this way I don’t stop when it starts to get hard)

I set my timer (typically my workouts are 20-30 minutes long) and repeat my movements for either 1 minute or perform 12-15 reps per movement. I get in as many rounds as I can with little to no rest. If my kids are involved, this is a different story. Sometimes my workouts go smoothly with them and sometimes I want to pull my hair out. Celebrate the good days and know there is always tomorrow!

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4) Does what I eat really produce 80% of my results?

Yes! Food is one of the most important factors in our health journey. Eating a healthy balance of carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals will not only positively affect your recovery times and overall fitness results, but your mental wellbeing. Just like your workouts, start small and create habits that are going to last. My family and I recently took on a 10 day smoothie challenge with Jugo Juice. Our life is active and when planning snacks, things like vegetables can get missed. We saw this challenge as a opportunity to increase our vegetable intake and teach our kids to get creative with things they may have never tried (like cauliflower in their smoothie, who knew?) By just adding 1 smoothie after school, we increased their vegetable intake and eliminated the urge to ask for cookies or other sugary treats as they came down from the after school high. Maybe this week you add a smoothie, next week you swap out your normal lunch for a salad and the following week give up snacking after dinner. Small changes create lasting results. Need some motivation?! Right now Jugo Juice is running a contest for 3 prize packs! All you need to do is take a picture of your smoothie and post to Instagram with contest hashtags (#whatsinyoursmoothie #fuelbetter @jugojuice) and be following Jugo Juice on instagram! Winners will be announced Monday December 11th. Head over to Jugo Juice and design your own smoothie! Tag me! I want to see what you guys come up with. Check out my last Instagram post for my current favourite smoothie blend.

This year, instead of beating yourself up for skipping another workout or eating that donut, celebrate the wins! Along with creating my own fitness plan, I also have a huge jar that I place marbles in. Every time I do something positive for myself I put a marble in. On the hard days, when I want to allow negative talk to take over, I look at that jar and remind myself that health is a journey and each day I’m getting 1% better.

Small, achievable, and 1% better.

Bring it on 2018!

 

Jump-Start Workout :

 

  • After a 10 minute warm up, set your timer for 1 minute for each move. Repeat circuit 3-4x with little to no rest.
  • Squat
  • Tricep dips
  • Push up
  • Lunge (with back foot elevated on back bench)
  • 30-60 second sprint after each round

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10 Day Smoothie Challenge

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We work hard and we play hard in this house. I’ll be honest, I definitely wish there was more time to kick up my feet, read books and sleep…oh glorious sleep, we shall meet again someday. But right now, that’s not my reality. I have two extremely active boys and one bold, firecracker of a daughter who love to go none stop, explore new things and are some of the most creative little people I know. Learning to fuel their bodies and make the best decisions for us as a family has been extremely challenging at times. When it comes to fueling and trying new things, Troy and I try to keep a balanced approach with our habits. We have found when we allow our kids to be creative with their meals, have balanced amounts of treats and encourage them to listen to their bodies (rather than telling them something is not good for them) our kids make better decisions. Our journey has led us through being paleo, trying vegan, going totally organic, and trying to eat completely local…It’s a journey, we are not perfect, we are learning and I can almost guarantee what we are doing today will probably change at some point. One of the things that will always stay consistent in our house is encouraging our kids to get as many vegetables in their diet as possible and trying to be as creative as we can as parents.

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Mixing up smoothies, green popsicles, dried fruit/veggie snacks and making dessert acai bowls are some of our favourites in this house. We recently teamed up with Jugo Juice to take on a 10-day smoothie challenge and add more greens to our life. Jugo Juice recently changed all their smoothies over to 100% pure juice and has added tons of great options for the “always on the go” lifestyle. Over these past 10 days we have added cauliflower to our smoothies, replaced our weekend ice cream with green acai bowls and encouraged the kids to get creative with their own mixes.

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I love to support my local juice bars and make my own juices/smoothies at home, but these last 10 days of the challenge have really taught me that their is great options for our family when we are on the go and feel stuck on what to give our kids for a snack or fuel option. They also store great! Over these 10 days we have froze smoothies, bought extra and made popsicles or stuck them in the fridge for acai breakfast bowls. If you’re feeling stuck when it comes to snacks, want to grab something healthy on the go, or are scared to make your own cauliflower smoothie;) maybe try your own

Here some of my tips:

1) Ask for half the juice amount and add coconut water for a less sweet option.

2) Add wheat grass for extra nutrition

3) Sub the whey protein for their delicious vegan option (I find this easier on my stomach)

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Powerful Protein Balls

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These delicious chocolate treats not only satisfy your sweet tooth, they also help to balance the hormones and are packed with protein. The combination of healthy fats, carbohydrates and protein make these the perfect snack to grab before the gym or when you need something quick on the road. I’m in love with this new Energy Tonic from “Harlow Skin CO” and have been adding it to smoothies, protein balls and morning tea.

I’ve listed the amazing benefits of Energy Tonic in order to help you understand why this potion is so fricken amazing! This information is just the basics, but if you want more info I would defiantly recommend popping into Harlow and chatting with Crystal…She will blow your mind!

Check out the recipe and Energy Tonic benefits below.

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Maca:

  • Balances Hormones
  • Boost Fertility
  • Improves skin and hair
  • Increases Energy
  • Reduces Stress

 

  • Ashtragalus:
  • Acts as an Anti-Inflammatory. …
  • Slows or Prevents the Growth of Tumors. …
  • Protects the Cardiovascular System. …
  • Regulates and Prevents Diabetes and Illnesses Related to Diabetes. …
  • Contains Antioxidative and Anti-Aging Capabilities. …
  • Heals Wounds.

Rhodiola:

  • Burning Belly Fat.
  • Increased Energy and Athletic Performance.
  • Lowering Cortisol.
  • Fighting Depression and Improving Brain Function

Powerful Protein Balls:

All ingredients can be purchased at Natures Fare Market.

  • 1 cup fully cooked (cooled) quinoa
  • 1 cup almond butter
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
  • 4 tsp energy tonic
  • 3/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

Directions:

Mix all dry ingredients, then add wet items one by one making sure to mix fully.

Roll into little balls (rolling in chocolate dust if desired.)

Place in the freezer for at least 1 hour and enjoy~~*

 

Spicy Avocado Pizza

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We are prepping for our October cleanse and being as creative as possible for the seasonings that are allowed for the 21 days. This delicious and healthy pizza is a great addition to your “cleanse” recipes or a cleaner way of enjoying “Pizza Night.” Serve on a gluten free crust or a cauliflower crust if grains are not a option for you.

 

Enjoy~~*

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Spicy Avocado Pizza:

I purchased our gluten free crust from Natures Fare Market. They have some great options for gluten free options and tons of fresh local veggies to top your pizza with!

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe peeled avocado, coarsely mashed
  • 1 tablespoon minced jalapeño pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced red onion
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh cilantro
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Mix all ingredients in Vitamix till smooth.

Spread 1 tbsp of coconut oil on your pizza and bake at 350 till pizza crust is slightly crisp.

Spread on avocado mixture on pizza crust, top with your favorite veggies (I used spinach,tomatoes and baby arugula) and enjoy!

 

 

 

Shuswap and Chocolate Chip Cookies

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A couple weeks ago we headed to the Shuswaps with Troy’s family for a little R&R time together.

The days were filled with the little cousins playing in the little creek behind our house, participating in Grandma’s treasure hunt games and taking quality time to reconnect as a family.

We came home feeling refreshed and refuelled as we head into the fall season.

On our last day together I joined Adelaide and her adorable little cousin Myla, in making ice cream sandwiches together .

This cookie recipe is one of my favourites! I triple this recipe to make ice cream sandwiches, snacks for school and last minute desserts when friends pop over.

These little ladies added the perfect amount of sprinkles and probably ate their body weight in ice cream that day.

Enjoy~

The girls are wearing locally made dresses by: Nest & Nurture .

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