What’s In Season This Summer?

Hello everyone!

Today’s post is going to highlight what produce is in season for Ontario this summer (US friends – check out your friendly USDA seasonal produce listings here!). I want to highlight this to you for 3 reasons:

  1. Buying local and within your own country supports your economy, farmers, and everyone in between who makes it all happen. Look at the signs in your grocery store and try your best to buy local produce. If you don’t see something or want to inquire about where something was grown, ask a staff member! You deserve to know. Better yet, hit up farmers markets around your city and support the farmer directly. YAY!
  2.  Produce that doesn’t travel far retains more nutrients and fresher quality due to less travel time I’ve included a little nutrition blurb about a few of the items so you can see the great nutrients you’ll be getting.
  3. Buying stuff in season means it is cheaper!

So here you go – Brought to you by Foodland Ontario, my favourite new resource as I turn into a total food hippie 😛

June

  • Cherries (ON) – deep red cherries can help reduce inflammation and are known to contain melatonin (hormone that helps you sleep)
  • Rhubarb
  • Strawberries – high in vitamin C to help support your immune system (*always* important, not just in winter)
  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus – like broccoli, asparagus is high in sulphur, a potent compound needed for proper liver detoxification. 
  • Green Onions

July

  • Watermelonrandom summer stuff 005 source of L-citrulline which supports a healthy cardiovascular system
  • Peaches
  • Raspberries
  • Field Tomatoes – source of lycopene, a great antioxidant and important nutrient for men as it aids in prostate health.
  • Zucchini
  • Garlic – my favourite food, hands down. My favourite even before I learned it was incredibly supportive to your liver, immune system and skin. Total win!

August

  • Pears – keep the skin on and you’ll be eating a good amount of fibre, which helps keep the large intestine (colon) working well.
  • Grapes
  • Acorn Squash – source of B vitamins and vitamin A to keep your eyes healthy. Bake/roast the seeds for a delicious snack.
  • Raddichio
  • Parsnips – try these delicious roots as a substitute for potatoes next time you make fries!

❤ Emily

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Baby Care Giveaway!

Hello followers,

I have a sweet baby care package to give away to one lucky reader! As the weather gets warmer we don’t want to forget about our little friends who need skin care too. This is a great care package for a new mama, mama-to-be, or anyone needing a bit of baby love!

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I’m in love with all these things and have used them on myself. The ingredients are clean, natural, and without any preservatives. Baby skin is much more delicate than adult, so make sure whatever you’re putting on their skin is made with the simplest ingredients. This package can work well for a toddler too.

Abundance Naturally Baby Care Package

DSC08281Baby Balm – to protect and treat diaper rash. Contains grape seed oil, calendula, chickweed, marshmallow, goldenseal, peppermint, lavender and vitamin E.

Baby Oil – also perfect for mom’s stretch marks. Contains sunflower oil, sweet almond oil, sweet cherry oil, lavender, chamomile and vitamin E

All in One Bubble Wash (Shampoo and Body Wash) – Contains lavender flower water, aloe vera leaf juice, castile soap, chamomile, and grapefruit seed extract

Bum Bum Spray – a cleansing mist when changing diapers – Contains lavender flower water, aloe leaf juice, witch hazel, coconut oil, and tea tree oil.

How to win!

DSC08278To enter your name in the draw, leave a comment on this article, on facebook, or on my instagram (@lavender.owl). Mention a person who you think would love this prize 🙂 Draw will be next friday june 10th!

❤ Emily

 

Summer Sunscreen 101

sunscreen

Victoria Day weekend unofficially marks the first day of summer here in Canada! And let me tell you, people must have been counting down the minutes because literally at work overnight I went from recommending immune-boosting cough syrups to loading up parents’ carts with bug sprays and sunscreen. Because everyone is so pumped about the sunshine, today’s summer post is about what to look for in a sunscreen. I’ve got three lessons to help you decipher the best quality brand for your dollar. And read ahead for why you absolutely *need* to read labels……just because a sunscreen is sold at a health food store does not make it good for you, trust me!

Lesson 1: Ingredients

Let me first recommend that if you don’t have the EWG website saved as a favourite on your computer (or as an app on your phone) do it now! It is your personal label-reading superstar. The EWG recently came out with it’s annual sunscreen guide and all you have to do is type in your favourite brand to see how it ranks for safety.

a food Art Attack from my wonderful sister - nectarines, blueberries, turkey slices, and cheese...yum yum!
a fish Art Attack designed by my sis!

Shady Offenders – Seems to be Oxybenzone -Allergen, bio-accumulator (gets stored in your body for a long time) and hormone disrupter (in 2005 scientists from the University of California noticed that male fish living off the coast of OC and Huntington Beach were growing ovary tissue as a result of man-made estrogenic compounds. Oxybenzone was one culprit that stood out.). Other chemical ingredients to question include octinoxate, octisalate & homosalate.
Look twice at the ingredients of Aveeno Active Naturals CC Cream (SPF 30), Kiss My Face Continuous Spray Cool Sport (at health food stores!!), Banana Boat Sunscreen Lotion and many Coppertone products before buying.

DSC07561Best Bets – mineral non-nano zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. Make sure the “non-active ingredients” are minimal for things like BHT, parabens, alcohol (oh yes) or other chemicals. I’ve tried and still love Green Beaver, Badger, Substance, and Goddess Garden.

 

Lesson 2: Disclaimers

The latest report from the FDA made some neat laws for sunscreen labelling. Products are not allowed to make claims for “waterproof” or “sweat-proof” anymore, as this was too misleading. This means get ready to see a whole lot of “sport” sunscreens coming to market – a brand’s way of eliciting the image of sweat-proof without actually saying it.

You should also know that “broad-spectrum” sunscreens must contain UVA and UVB protection BUT only “a certain percentage of a broad spectrum product’s total protection is against UVA“. UVB rays are the ones most indicated with sunburn, but both A and B are indicated for skin cancer.

“Mineral” sunscreen implies that it is using mostly minerals to block the sun’s rays – namely zinc or titanium dioxide. These types of sunscreens rate quite highly on the EWG rating and are effective against UVA and UVB.

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dad and jer, ankle deep in summer fun ❤

SPF – what the heck does that mean anyway? Sun Protection Factor, and it tells you how well a product will protect against UVB rays, depending on your skin type. For example, if you can usually handle 10 minutes in the sun without getting burnt, if you use an SPF 15 you can be protected for 10min x 15 = 150 minutes. BUT DON’T BE FOOLED! The SPF ratings don’t go up the way you think. Take these important facts from the Badger and EWG websites:
SPF 15 = 93% protection
SPF 30 = 97% protection
SPF 100 = 99% protection
So going up a whole 60 points in SPF-land only gets you 2% more protection, and inherently a load more chemicals that can pose health risks, skin damage and hormone disruption. What to do? Stick between 15 and 30 on the advice of dermatologists, and use other methods of sun protection like hats, shade, timing (don’t go out at mid-day) and re-application.

Lesson 3: Consistency

DSC07567Unfortunately (or fortunately?) the thicker sunscreens are much better at protecting your skin. Almost all of the continuous spray/aerosol suncreens rate terribly in terms of ingredients but also in terms of protection. This is because sprays inherently only cover your skin with a sheer layer of protection. Even if you’re spraying on an SPF 50, you’re only giving your body a light misting of it.

The best products that spread well but won’t leave your body looking like you’re a freshly frosted cupcake include Goddess Garden, Andalou BB / CC creams with SPF (tinted a peachy-colour), and Green Beaver. I’m in love with Badger, but it’s just too white and thick. GREAT FOR BABIES THOUGH – they don’t care what they look like, haha! And if you really need a spray but want better protection, Goddess Garden Spray and Green Beaver Spray will cover you up and don’t come in aerosols.

❤ Emily

Food Energetics

Hi everyone!

Guess what…..I got a little trophy icon from the blog site today congratulating me on having lots of followers – HOORAY! Thank you guys!!

https://www.pinterest.com/akaoeriko/trophy/
this is actually the Tri-Wizard Cup from Harry Potter, but close enough

Ok, so today we have something really cool to talk about – energy. Different foods impose different energies on the body. Before you go rolling your eyes take a moment to reflect on this, because I know you can FEEL it every time you eat. For example, In the winter, do you crave salads and fruit and ice cold smoothies? No, instead we turn to roasted root vegetables, creamy hot soups or warm drinks. Why? Our bodies naturally know that in certain environments, different foods are needed as they provide a certain energy and feeling to the body. As well, each body type can potentially be its most vibrant with a specific set of foods. So which foods are right for you, right now?

Here is a sampling of some of the awesome energies that different foods have. If you see anything on this list that you think pertains to you, I recommend finding a qualified professional in your area to learn about it more (i.e. a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner, Ayurvedic practitioner, etc.). These traditional modes of healing are verrrryyyy complicated  and profound. Some of them overlap, and some of them contradict.  So I don’t pretend to be an expert in them. But here is what I have learned so far….

COOLING FOODS
DSC07621Examples: raw fruits, sea vegetables, cucumber, mint, dill, potentially hot peppers (they make you sweat = cooling effect on the body), melons, raw vegetables and leafy greens, fennel
Best for:
warm weather environments (spring/summer here in Canada) and naturally ‘hot’ constitutions (warm body temperature, produce too much stomach acid, heart burn, skin irritated easily, acne, quick metabolism…etc).
Overuse to be considered for: people with cool body temperatures, low appetite, winter months, people with slow metabolisms, people who need help with digestion (digestive “fire” is your stomach acid and can be imbalanced by too much raw and cold foods),

WARMING FOODS
DSC07686Examples: cooked foods, root vegetables (beet, parsnip, turnip, carrot…), meat, grains dairy, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, chai spices, garlic, ginseng, arugula
Best for:
cool environments (fall/winter), naturally “cool” temperaments (naturally cold body temperature, slow metabolism, balancing extremely expansive ‘airy’ or ‘spacey’ minds/personalities , low sexual energy, easily fatigued, frequent loose stools,  easily fearing and insecure…..etc)
Overuse to be considered for: people with hot conditions like inflammation and irritations, ulcers, high stomach acidity, thick mucous, fever…

DAMP FOODS
Examples: dairy, sugar, meats, alcohol, refined grains, water, oilsoil
Best for: Well……….the above food examples mostly have negative connotations in conditions like high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, etc. so I would recommend asking a qualified TCM practitioner to go over which foods would be best to help treat dry conditions like dry cough, constipation, dry flaky skin, dandruff, etc. (BUT I’ve seen beneficial oils like evening primrose and olive oil help with dry skin and constipation)

DRYING FOODS
Examples: turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, onions, fennel…

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honey, turmeric, clove, ginger and cardamom – all warming and drying energies. I use these to make “Golden Milk” during the winter or when I feel excess cold in my body.

Best for: damp conditions like wet cough, loose stools, excess phlegm and mucous, swelling, edema (water retention) and generally excess discharge from the body (oozing rashes or other lovely things). Might be good for people who spend a lot of time in damp and wet environments too.

Cool eh? I find it so interesting to learn about this stuff and use it in my daily life. If you have any medical conditions and want to pursue looking into your specific needs further, consider finding a qualified practitioner in your area. Your body is not just “dry” or “cool” – it is a multitude of things put together!

Emily

Labelling Secrets 101

It’s no surprise that when it comes to ingredient lists, some of it might as well be written in Greek. Between chemical  names, Latin names and regular food synonyms, the average consumer needs to be savvy and educated to have any chance of deciphering their food. Thankfully, YOU are the savvy ones because you are reading this blog and taking time to educate yourself. So let’s do this!

Today I have three secret ingredients to share with you, because you as a consumer need to know what you are buying and what’s going into your body!

Maltodextrinhttp://cornsuits.com/when-will-the-gmo-corn-lawsuits-against-syngenta-be-settled/
Found in: supplements, soft drinks, candy, low fat foods….lots of stuff
Use: a food additive used to improve the texture of foods, i.e. as a thickener
Wary for: people who are allergic to or trying to avoid corn, as most maltodextrin is derived from corn (and sometimes wheat). It also breaks down very quickly in the body into glucose, i.e. sugar.

http://candleandsoap.about.com/od/soapglossary/g/glglycerinsoap.htmGlycerin
Found in: supplement capsules, body care products, toothpaste, bar and liquid soaps
Use: makes things slippery, acts as a solvent, lubricator, draws moisture into the skin
Wary for: vegans and eco-conscious consumers. There are 2 types of glycerin – animal fat derived or plant derived. If not specifically stated on the label as ‘vegetable glycerin’ it may have been derived from animal fat. Glycerin can also be derived from petroleum, which has human toxicity and contamination concerns.

Flavour (also colour, fragrance)
Found in: every label that has ever said “——- flavour” i.e. caramel flavour, vanilla flavour, etc.
Use: flavour, of course
Wary for: everyone, because according to this 2009 study as many as 100 substances, emulsifiers, solvents and preservatives could be found under this one heading. Same goes for “colour”, “dye” or “fragrance”. Check out these awesome rebuttals by consumers like you towards companies and their secret ingredients: Subway and azodicarbonamide, and Pepsi/Gatorade and BVO

B O N U S!!!!!!!!!!!!:

Windsor Salthttps://shop.loblaws.ca/Food/Pantry/Herbs%2C-Spices-%26-Sauces/Salt-%26-Peppers/Iodized-Table-Salt/p/20126203_EA?isPDPFlow=Y
The iconic box. The happy anticipation of a perfectly salted meal. After all, Windsor salt is just salt…….right?
Ingredients: Salt (sodium chloride), calcium silicate, sugar, potassium iodine

……………………………..

4 ingredients…..?????????

Take your time to think about that…..Anyway I’m off to enjoy this sunny cold April day!
-Emily

Don’t Forget to Name Drop! And Other Updates…

Hi lovelies,

I still have that e-coupon up at skinessence.ca so if you’re looking to clean up your makeup and skin care bag this spring, or give an elegant and thoughtful birthday gift, name drop me for 15% off (promo code: ’emily’:) Men – you have skin too, this isn’t just for ladies. I’m talking about taking care of the fundamentals of skin – providing it with good fats so it stays elastic, vitamin C to promote even skin tone and reduce fine lines, SPF to help shield it from the sun, and loads of antioxidants to make it smooth and clear. It’s about respecting your skin for all it has done to protect you, and allowing it to age naturally and gracefully because of the beautiful products you put on it earlier in life…..like NOW!

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In other news…..I have 2 cool topics I’m excited about sharing with you on the blog soon. One will be about secret ingredients, i.e. those ingredients you may notice on nutritional labels but don’t quite know what they are, and some surprising components you want to know about and stay away from. And the second is about food energies and why certain ‘diets’ work only for certain people. You’ll have to stay tuned to find out!

AND in my last piece of news, y’all already know by now that I have set up shop in a sun-filled welcoming downtown oasis in Toronto….aka pOm Health and Wellness. I have office hours every Monday and Tuesday after work. I’m the nutritionist and work alongside other talented professionals that offer yoga, massage, personal training, and acupuncture.

https://www.facebook.com/193085340748376/photos/a.285806444809598.69490.193085340748376/1065584060165162/?type=3&theaterI’ve already been hard at work doing online articles for the clinic, and am setting up some talks in the next few weeks to start getting people empowered and up to date on what info is out there relating to their health. Leave me a message on here or contact me at the clinic directly (info@pomhealth.ca) if you wanna check it out!!

🙂 🙂 🙂
-Emily

When I Look Into Your Eyes….

Our eyes are a mysterious, complex and wonderful part of our body – and often overlooked when it comes to health! My eyes have seen fireworks, waterfalls, palm trees, oceans, flowers in bloom, sunsets, friends, and family….and until now I’ve never really stopped to admire just how gosh darn amazing eyes are. But I’ve recently learned that I can’t take eyesight for granted.

After getting benefits at work I went on a health spending spree and went to the dentist, ophthalmologist, and registered massage therapist all within about 2 weeks. Why not! I hadn’t been to the eye doctor in oh, about 20 years. I thought my eyesight was top notch, but after I couldn’t manage to read the 3rd line of the letter chart, I was surprised, disappointed, and in shock that I hadn’t checked my eyes in so long. To freak me out more,  I have a family history of retinal detachment, and the doctor mentioned that this was hereditary! Noooooooooooooo 😦 😦

Imagining myself going through laser eye treatments and microscopic stitches to glue a retina back on makes me dizzy.

SO, long story short, this post is dedicated to everyone who wants to rekindle their love affair with their eyes. They’ve always been there for you. And I’ve been on a mission to discover and start implementing the best eye-friendly foods and practices I can find! Here are my top tips to keep your eyes bright and healthy for years and years 🙂

Top Foods
Carrots and Pumpkin – it’s true that vitamin A (most commonly found in carrots and other orange-pigmented foods) is absolutely necessary for proper eye functioning, including helping the eye absorb and process light, colour and avoiding night-blindness (or blindness in general). Focus on getting your correct amount of Vitamin A through beta-carotene rich foods, which your body will naturally convert to vitamin A as needed. Raw or freshly juiced carrots and pumpkin (pureed is nice!) are great sources. I want to mention an umbrella of antioxidants, which vitamin A is a part of. Your eyes are constantly exposed to oxidation because your lenses are constantly exposed to light and air. Vitamin A, C, E and Zinc are therefore important for eye health.

Pomegranates and Blueberries – these 2 superfruits contain loads of antioxidants and bioflavanoids, necessary for eye functioning, protection, and healing. They are also important for nourishing and keeping flexible the arteries that supply the eye with nutrients. Fresh is best, but you can also buy frozen or powdered versions of these fruits to add to smoothies or water.

Top Herbs/Supplements
Lutein and Zeaxanthin – antioxidants that help protect against macular degeneration

Bilberry – another berry lookin like the blueberry, but isn’t! Contains vitamin C and shown to improve retinal health.

Eyebright Herb – A traditional herb to improve eye health. Can be used homeopathically or in capsules. Always check with your MD in case you’re allergic or need advice on contraindications.

Top Lifestyle Changes
Wear Sunglasses – I’m guilty of thinking sunglasses should only be worn when trying to look cool. I’ve gone outside for years squinting in the sun, thinking “oh boy, this sunshine sure is helping my eyes become stronger! The more I squint the more powerful they become” like some sort of deluded X-Men character. But this is FALSE….and will also guarantee me some serious eye wrinkles when I’m older. Exposure to sunlight can damage the cornea, leading to cataracts. Invest in some good quality shades with UV-A and UV-B protection.

IMG_0028
not cool
IMG_0030
cool

Limit Screen Time – as I write this I’m painfully aware of the minutes passing by as I stare at the screen completing this post. I just turned down the brightness, that should help right? Officially, follow the 20-20-20 rule: “Every 20 minutes take a 20 second break and focus your eyes on something at least 20 feet away” – from this Doctors of Optometry Canada helpful list.

Carefully Choose your Makeup – eyeliner and mascara practically touch your eyeballs, and the last thing you want to do is put stuff on them that can be dangerous or toxic. Avoid at all costs makeup that uses coal tar, colour additives (like kohl – can contain LEAD) or cheap adhesives. Here’s the FDA’s suggestions for eye cosmetics.

Happy blinking!
-Emily

Let’s Meet!

I’ve been super fortunate to snag an amazing office space right downtown Toronto, working with a team of talented helpers (acupuncture, yoga, massage, energy medicine, personal training….and me!) with one goal in mind = helping you to re-vitalize, re-connect and re-discover your wellness. Ok that’s three goals.

the little tea stand in the office

But seriously, I am really pumped to start drinking tea with you and listening to what you want. If you’ve been working on something by yourself for a long time, like:
– improving energy
– clearing up skin issues
– figuring out digestive stuff like bloating, gas and heartburn
– weight management
– dealing with stttrreeeessssssss
– fertility/hormone balancing
– men’s health like prostate issues or sexual vitality
– strong bones
– shiny hair and nails
– literally anything else…even things like getting advice on which grocery/supplement brands actually work and which ones are baloney.

….and aren’t seeing the results you wish, don’t hesitate to reach out for extra advice and tools. I have them, and want to help you on your way. You know your body better than anyone ever will, but sometimes it just takes some extra info, encouragement and empowerment. Am I right? 🙂

the sunlight-filled yoga studio!

I’ll be starting to see clients in the next few weeks so if you (or anyone you know) is living in the GTA and needs a little TLC then contact me! I’ll reply back asap with details. The space is an oasis away from the hustle, and you’ll leave feeling revitalized and optimistic about your journey.

See you soon!! ❤ Emily

Sweet Heat Roasted Almonds

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Got a snack craving? Make your own delicious roasted almonds, using any combo of spices and flavours in your cupboard! Almonds pack calcium, protein, fibre and essential fats and make a great snack. Today my sweet heat almonds blend a mix of salt (yummy trace minerals), cinnamon, cayenne (both warming and circulation-enhancing), and honey together for an a-b-c-deeeeelightful hit of salty savoury flavour 🙂

DSC08112Ingredients
2 cups raw almonds
2 tbsp honey
A few shakes each of cinnamon, sea salt and cayenne pepper powder (to your spicy liking)

Mix ingredients together and spread out on a baking sheet. Bake at 300 degrees F for around 20 min, till almonds get brown and roasty. Stir them around halfway through cooking to avoid any burning.

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Scoop them out and lay them flat to cool. Voila! Just don’t eat them right away because the honey will burn your mouth, as it did mine. WISE WORDS.

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And the winner is…..

Actually, in the meantime this contest was going on I got my hands on ANOTHER bag of goji berries (!!!) so I randomly picked 2 winners….

And they are:

Gaylene and Murray!

Congrats! And thank you to everyone who participated here or on facebook. Winners – I’ll be contacting you to get your mailing addresses so you can start to enjoy your berries asap!

-Emily