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!



Goji Giveaway!

Hi Friends!
I have a delicious prize to give away to one lucky reader 🙂 It’s ONE POUND of goji berries from Giddy Yoyo!

check out the full info here
  • Certified Organic
  • Gluten-Free
  • Independently tested in Canada for purity
  • Super high in antioxidants, vitamin A, vitamin C, along with some protein!
  • Traditionally used in Chinese Medicine to promote longetivity

How to use them?

  • Eat them as a snack, raw….like a handful. They aren’t very sweet, but they aren’t sour either. They are cool.
  • Soak them in water or steep them in tea, and watch them grow!! Back to their original size, that is. Goji berry tea is a really tasty addition to your afternoon snack routine, providing energy and immune support.
  • Add onto yogurt, granola, salads, smoothies, homemade trail mix….you name it!

How to WIN

Simply submit a comment on here or on the facebook page about how YOU would use these goji berries! I love hearing the ways people eat and enjoy food 🙂 Winner will be picked on Friday April 1st. Good karma and look forward to hearing your ideas! ❤


Fat is Fabulous! Just Not in Between your Organs….

Is this you?

Fat is FABULOUS. It is important for so many aspects of our health, including brain functioning, stress management, hormone creation, insulation (for this chilly winter!), vitamin absorption, and so much more. But, this picture is not so fabulous. This picture actually shows a potentially dangerous side of fat that you need to know about.

What is a “beer belly”?
For starters, beer doesn’t always cause beer belly, but it’s often indicated because of its low nutritional value and high number of calories. Rather, a ‘beer belly’ is the name for a distended abdomen caused by elevated levels of visceral fat. Visceral fat = fat that exists in between and around your organs (like your liver, pancreas, spleen, etc). It’s not the squishy soft fat you find under your skin; this is called subcutaneous fat. Visceral fat is a much more dangerous type of fat. Why?

Research shows visceral fat increases your risk for:
– impaired glucose metabolism (higher risk for diabetes)
– impaired lipid metabolism (higher risk for obesity and high cholesterol)
– higher risk of hypertension (high blood pressure)

these be your fat cells

What causes it?
Commonly factors are: age, hormones (low testosterone or high estrogen), smoking, excess intake of sugar and alcohol, stress, and lack of physical exercise. Fat cells, especially visceral fat cells, act like little hormone factories and can often start wreaking havoc on your delicate natural hormonal balance. A condition called “estrogen dominance” is common in men AND women, and has a suggested role in visceral fat accumulation as higher than normal levels of estrogens (from plastics, BPA, preservatives, chemicals, certain soy products, birth control pill, medications, or other environmental factors) can promote fat cell growth.

Sometimes constipation can lead to a distended belly, but this can be hopefully remedied by including more fibre, water, and probiotics in your diet. I like a combo of flax seeds, chia seeds, and sauerkraut!

How to help

  • First, get moving somehow and some way. Find something you like and try and include it in your routine. I.e. go to the gym at work, take the stairs, go for walks/jogs, skip, bike, yoga, lift hand weights, sit on an exercise ball…..who cares! But if you aren’t physically exerting yourself at least once a day for at least 10 minutes, visceral fat accumulation may be the first of many issues you see arise – such as weaker bones, mental fogginess, higher stress, and decreased heart functioning.
  • Next, start being conscious of how much sugar you consume on a daily basis, and work to decrease it. Do you add sugar to your coffee/tea? How much? Do you sprinkle sugar on cereal or fruits? Do you have a muffin/bagel/cookie with your meals or snacks? Are you a pop or fruit juice drinker? Too much sugar adds to the stress on your body and increases the likelihood of fat setting up camp between your organs.
  • Third, make a liver-loving plan. Your liver is your best friend when it comes to eliminating excess fat and toxins. Stop drinking alcohol or at least significantly cut down on what you have now. If your have significant visceral fat, your liver is being insulated by a juicy layer of fat and may already be impaired – you don’t want to impair it even more. Invest in some digestive bitters to have with meals (little tinctures like this one you take with a bit of water to help your liver assimilate fat more effectively). Other happy liver foods include lemons, broccoli, onions, garlic, asparagus, cabbage, radish, beets, or raddichio.
  • Finally, eat healthier fats your body can use to balance hormones and decrease inflammation. Essential fats are found in salmon, flax, chia, hemp, olives, nuts, seeds, avocado, and evening primrose to name a few 🙂

-Emily ❤

Achieve Your Best Skin Yet!

Spring is the BEST time to de-clutter your beauty cabinet. You deserve the best skin care and now is the time to refresh your current supply. Get rid of old skin care products that are taking up space, irritating your skin, or not giving you results.

Priest's visit 004

The number one mistake most people make? Thinking you have to spend hundreds of $$$ on products to get great skin. YOU DON’T! There’s so much literature out there showing high end stuff to have plastic-derivatives, fragrances, alcohol, and other things your skin definitely does not need. The second most common mistake? Not reading ingredients. A trusted “natural” brand like Aveeno will be full of skin-nourishing goodness, right? OMG, so wrong. This is just PART of the ingredient list for their Positively Radiant moisturizer:

Water, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Dimethicone (silicone derivative that just sits on your skin) Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract, Glycerin, Bis-Phenylpropyl Dimethicone, Arachidyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol (alcohol…very drying), Cetearyl Glucoside, Panthenol, Benzyl Alcohol, Disodium EDTA (preservative), Methylparaben (plastic-derivative), C13-14 Isoparaffin, Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Laureth-7 (what???), Mica (product of mining, linked to asbestos), Silica…..

WTF???? Just don’t. Instead, check below where I have GREAT tips to help you resolve the 5 most common skin care issues. PLUS, I’ll be highlighting specific products from Skin Essence Organics that deliver the best results for each issue. As you may know by now I’m addicted to Skin Essence skin care. It’s an incredibly effective, economical (all under $40), and natural line – and I want everyone to try them!

Organic, Fair Trade, Gluten-Free, Vegan-Friendly, Made in Canada

 To get you started on your new dedication towards healthy skin care, I’ve created a special discount for all you lovely readers! If you wanna try any of the products mentioned below, type in the secret promo code “Emily” on Skin Essence Online to get 15% off your purchase!

Ready for vibrant skin? Let’s get started:

Problem: Fine Lines and Wrinkles
Fix: vitamin C. Vitamin C is used by the body to produce collagen, the main protein involved in making your skin appear plump and healthy.
DSC08016Try: Rosehip Seed Oil.
Naturally rich in vitamin C, this is a one-ingredient cure-all for more than just wrinkles.DSC07997




The vitamin C content also acts as a powerful antioxidant, making it perfect for applying to scars (even acne scarring), sunspots, or discoloured skin. It goes on really really light so even if you don’t like using oil, you’ll be ok with this.

Problem: Dry and Dehydrated Skin
DSC08009Fix:  Do these 3 things daily: 1. Drink Water!. I’d also recommend spritzing your face with some sort of flower essence mist, like lavender water or rosewater, right after you cleanse or come out of the shower. It will help re-soak your skin with hydration. 2. Stop using cleansers that foam. You’re stripping away your skins natural oils, which will only make your skin dryer. And 3. Replenish with oil. For dry skin, your skin is not producing enough oil, so you need to apply this. Make sure you’re eating enough healthy fats, and apply topical oils to areas that are really dry.
Try: Pure cleanser will effectively clean your skin without leaving it dry or damaged. Next, apply Neroli or Nourish facial oils. These rich blends are designed to re-hydrate very dry, mature, or aging skin. They contain rosehip oil + macadamia, apricot, jojoba and evening primrose. BONUS – they also contain non-nano zinc oxide to provide SPF 15 🙂DSC08011

** got dry, rough hands & lips? Keep the Chocolate Mandarin Body Balm in your purse or at work. Silky cocoa butter will help heal those cracks. Also works well to heal stretch marks.
Suffer from eczema? E-cream is healing, anti-irritating, and anti-itch. It has anti-bacterial properties to help get rid of irritation and contains peppermint to help cool and sooth red hot skin. Naturally has an SPF of 30!! **



Problem: Red and Sensitive Skin
Fix: Stop using cleansers and moisturizers that contain alcohol, fragrance and detergents. Give your skin a break. Try misting rosewater or calendula water on your delicate skin to help calm redness. Use moisturizers and cleansers that are non-irritating.DSC08005
Try: Pure cleanser, as mentioned before. Very simple ingredients – glycerine, coconut, jojoba, comfrey and blue chamomile. Won’t suds up on your face but definitely cleanes effectively. Follow with Soothe moisturizer which contains sage – very healing and calming. (GENTLEMEN – this is my pick for you. It smells like the fresh air of the woods).
And if you have eczema even on your face, try the E-cream – I’ve had people say they saw a reduction in redness within 1/2 hour of putting this stuff on!

Problem: Acne-prone and Oily Skin
Fix: Ironically, sometimes the skin over-produces oil when it is too dry or stripped of its natural defences. Have you been using harsh cleansers lately? Also, examine your diet. Research has shown a link between excess sugar, dairy, and acne. If you’re a teenager, chances are you will grow out of hormone-induced acne, but in the meantime try the following:
DSC08017Try: Fresh cleanser. This effectively cleans your skin, and helps reduce excess oil due to the ingredients coriander and lemongrass. Follow with a gentle clay-based mineral exfoliator like Facial in a Jar or Nurture – both made with delicate white clay, jasmine and oat powder (gluten-free) to sooth your skin and soak up excess oil. Finish with Light moisturizer. A very light and quick-absorbing serum that will not only help to balance oily skin, but will help prevent further breakouts and heal any acne scars! It contains essential oils of lavender, eucalyptus and tea tree – all anti-septic for getting rid of pimples. If you’re past the acne phase but have residual scarring, use pure rosehip oil to help get rid of that scar tissue. Great for young adults.

Problem: Dark Circles and Eye Puffiness
Fix: Focus on hydration and circulation. Drink plenty of water, and nourish your kidneys by infusing your water with herbs like nettle or parsley. Dark circles can be caused by blood pooling around the eyes. Give yourself a little eye massage, get your iron levels checked, and load up on antioxidants (vitamin A, E and C) that promote circulation.DSC07968Try: Ocular eye serum. Contains hemp seed oil (nourishing for fine lines), blue chamomile oil (for puffiness), and nettle (iron-rich to decrease dark circles). This formula also gives you a natural a SPF of 15!

There you have it. Spring is a new beginning, and a new chance to learn about and learn from your skin. Pamper it with vibrant and nourishing nutrients inside and out! ❤

PS: There’s also free shipping for purchases over $50, so if you get a whole set (cleanser & moisturizer, maybe one more thing to pamper yourself like an eye serum or exfoliator) you’ll be getting deals and savings all over the place!

Top 3 Tips to Handle Your Migraine

A migraine is something you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. If you’re among the millions of people suffering from them (more females than males) you can be comforted that you’re not alone. But when the lights, sounds, and smells of daily life make you nauseas and your head is about to explode, where can you turn??DSC05357s

  1. Relax with Magnesium & Calcium
    Migraines can be caused by a number of things but what they all have in common is an extreme constriction and/or dilation of the blood vessels in your brain. Magnesium works to relax smooth muscles and blood vessels when they are too constricted. Calcium works in the opposite way, helping to tighten vessels that are excessively dilated. Try a combination of 1000mg magnesium and 2000mg calcium, or keep a magnesium spray in your purse/bag (I find great results from Schuessler’s Mag Phos spray – great for lady cramps and leg cramps too!).

2, Avoid these Triggersmigraine triggers
Common triggers for migraines include:
– Alcohol (especially red wine)
– Stress (brew yourself a nice cup of chamomile tea to help reduce stress and alleviate pain)
– MSG (used as a preservative and flavour-enhancer)
– Aspartame (just avoid this generally, it’s gross and sooooo bad for you)
– Chocolate
– Nitrites (in packaged and cured meats like salami, hot dogs, balogna, etc…)
– Low blood sugar (plan and eat good quality snacks every 3-4 hours to avoid blood sugar crashes. Stick to snacks that have fibre, protein, and healthy fats).

**FYI – For some people, caffeine may help a migraine by constricting blood vessels if they are too dilated.**

3. Herbs and Oils research has been done with the herbs Butterbur and Feverfew in helping to alleviate migraine headaches. Always check with a professional before starting a new herb!

Essential oils may also help. Peppermint can help alleviate pain and can be either inhaled in a diffuser, or applied topically (diluted, in a balm) to the temples and nape of neck when a headache strikes. Other essential oil scents to sniff include rosemary and ginger (great for nausea too).

Finally if you are able, stay home, climb into bed, and turn the lights out. Sensations like lights, sounds, smells and textures can accompany a migraine and irritate you to the point of stomach sickness and severe pain. Be realistic!!  “Working through” a migraine doesn’t exist………you’ll only end up aggravating your nerves and prolonging your recovery time. On an energetic level, migraines and headaches are said to be part of the 7th chakra which connects you to the world around you via nerves and intuition. Nourish this energy release by lying in the dark, sleeping, and letting your mind embrace the silence ❤


Gluten-Free Almond Butter Chocolate Cookies

gluten free cookies


That’s all I can say about this recipe, which I have re-made many times. Once I even made a batch and ate the entire thing in one night (not recommended, but I’ll bet you’ll do this one day too). Totally simple, totally gluten free, and actually pretty good for you – lots of protein and not much sugar!

As promised, this recipe is NOT my own, haha….I have discovered that I am not good at making up recipes! But I am good at finding them for you. This is a tried and true recipe from Clean Eating magazine, via Clean Eating online. Click the link for the original source, and I’ve copied it out here again to make it easy.

1. These cookies don’t expand much in the oven so feel free to pack them on your baking sheet
2. Experiment by replacing the almond butter with other nut butters! Like peanut, cashew or hazelnut.

– 1 cup unsalted almond butter, stirred well
– 3/4 cup Sucanat (‘stands for “sugar cane natural” – just sugar in its raw form)
– 1 large egg
– 1/2 tsp baking soda
– 1/4 tsp sea salt
– 3 oz dark chocolate (70% cocoa or greater), broken into small pieces (or grab a bag of fair-trade dark chocolate chips)

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, stir together first 5 ingredients until blended. Stir in chocolate.
  2. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes. Remove to a wire rack and let cool for 15 more minutes.

Makes around 24 cookies. Thanks Clean Eating!
-Emily ❤


Updates! and Colon Care

Hello lovely followers 🙂

Thanks for being patient with my lack of posts as I work through some busy times. I was commissioned to write some articles for magazines (yay!) and devoted myself to completing them. I finally handed those in and then dove right into an awesome business learning weekend in Toronto (#wbs16 ! Try and find the new savvy changes on the site!). Now that that’s over, I’m spending my free time enjoying the company of dear family members as we navigate through a recent health issue. Which is what my post will be dedicated to today, as this is all I am thinking about lately!

colon care, colon cancer
a plush colon from ❤

Colon Health
A simple message from the wise and experienced (my 86-year-old Papa): “Get a colonoscopy”

Do not wait until it is too late. They are uncomfortable and that’s why many people procrastinate, but it can really make an immense difference in your life if something is happening and you catch it early. I think the general age to start getting checked is around 40-50 years old, and then every 5 years or so after that.

Whatchya Doin’ there, Colon?
Your colon is an incredible organ that works hard for you. It is your main organ of elimination and is a huge player in detoxifying your body. You may think it’s running smoothly, but did you know ideally it takes around 14-18 hours for food to pass from one end of our body to the other? Which means if you aren’t having a good bowel movement DAILY something is awry. It’s main job is to eliminate toxins, and if it’s not doing this job regularly then the toxins are going somewhere else….namely back into your bloodstream, out through your skin, or used as plaster in a colon-wall-redecoration known as constipation/residue/cancer cells/polyps/ulcers/inflammation etc. etc. etc.

Your colon houses tons and tons of probiotics (good bacteria) that help break down your food and create vitamins and enzymes for your well-being. It forms stool which can tell you LOADS about your health (pun intended). The shape it is in has a lot to do with nutrition, stress, and overall wellness (click here for a quick run-down) so next time you’re on the throne check it out (don’t be embarrassed, we all secretly do it).  

Take Care
The great thing is it is relatively easy to take care of! Treat it kindly with fibre (flax seeds, chia, vegetables, fruit with peels, acacia gum, hemp, whole grains….), water (2L a day), magnesium, and probiotics (fermented goodies like sauerkraut, miso and tempeh). If you need an extra push to get things going, try herbs like fennel, slippery elm, aloe, or marshmallow. colon care, colorectal careAlways go for whole foods if you can, but a combo like Fibre Smart from Renew Life is a good supplement if you need a little extra.

It does not do well with sugars (too many refined sugars, including ‘evaporated cane juice’), caffeine, laxatives (including herbal stimulants like cascara and senna) or irritating foods. This can be different for everyone but common culprits include alcohol, spicy foods, dairy, or meals heavy on fat. All you have to do is listen to your body and let it tell you which foods agree with you more than others!

Now, just because someone follows these recommendations to a T doesn’t mean nothing will ever happen to them. But I hope you will now be more aware of your colon and how much of a service it does you! It’s the end of the road for your food, but the beginning of self-awareness in relation to your health.


Forest Schools – Is Outdoor Education the Future?

Hey all,

I’ve been a bit MIA these past few weeks working on other projects, but I’ll be back on my blog schedule soon!

In the meantime I’ll share with you an interesting and intriguing topic: forest schools. Alive magazine did a neat article on them last year and it really piqued my curiosity, as I had never heard of them before. Education in a forest school (or ‘Bush School’, ‘Nature Kindergarten’, ‘Rain or Shine School’, etc.) takes place mainly outdoors, offering kids a chance to connect with and learn from the environment.  Here are a few excerpts from forest school philosophies around the world (click on the titles for links).
What do you think? Is this the way education is meant to be? 🙂

Forest School Canada
“Our mission is to foster rich learning experiences, ecological literacy, and healthy living by connecting children to nature through the use of the Forest School model in the early, primary, and secondary years.”

“Our vision is for all children to play and learn in local forests, creeks, meadows, prairie grasses, mountains, and shorelines with a wise and skilled educator who understands the power of play…and how this can contribute to a more sustainable world.”

Cedarsong Nature School – Washington, USA
“Part of our mission is to carefully record notes regarding  each year’s plant growth, and animal and insect activity, creating a database for the public record. It is our goal to not only reach people who have a predisposition towards nature but also those who do not have access to this type of experience, such as people who live in urban environments.”

Wesley Clover Parks SchoolOttawa, ON
“Fill your days with fun. Hunt for the treasures of the woods. Find shortcuts to magical worlds. Build forts. Track animals. Tell stories. Are you an explorer? Are you a cartographer, a local historian, a budding naturalist? We need your help to chart our paths, uncover the stories the land holds, and unlock the secrets of the rocks and trees and the creatures who live among them.”

Forest International SchoolFrance
All children have twice weekly sport lessons with specialist teachers. In the Autumn and Summer terms, they also have regular swimming lessons with a qualified instructor. We incorporate the forest environment in our learning approach, using the outdoors as much as possible. Children are not only getting fresh air, but experience first-hand how learning can take place seamlessly through fun activities.”


Natural Approaches to Hair Loss

Stray hairs on the bathroom floor happen to everyone, but how many hairs is too many?

Hair loss is a common challenge for middle aged men and women. There are many contributors to why hair loss may be happening – genetics, environment, hormone imbalance – but regardless, the resulting feelings of frustration and self-consciousness are universal. What can you do?

For me, there are two ways to approach this challenge. You need to address both the internal and external causes before you can see any results.

Hair loss can be a result of any of the following:

  • lack of essential fats in the diet, or lack of fats being absorbed properly
    – include more good fats like olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds in your diet, and take digestive enzymes with lipase to help break down fats.
  • hormone imbalances (testosterone or estrogen)
    – help re-balance hormones by reducing stress, taking adaptogens, improving bowel movements, drinking clean water, and avoiding plastics and xenoestrogens
  • lack of circulation reaching the scalp
    – include some inversions (position your head lower than your heart) in your exercise routine to help blood flow. Try gingko biloba supplements and antioxidant-rich foods.
  • thyroid issues (your thyroid helps control hair growth)
    – zinc, selenium, omega 3 fats, and iodine are all essential for good thyroid functioning
  • too much stress – the phrase “stress is making my hair fall out!” is TRUE
  • lack of antioxidants, B-vitamins, silica, sulphur in the diet
  • heavy metal accumulationds
    – cilantro, chlorella, and parsley are natural heavy-metal detoxifiers. Consider a heavy-metal detox kit if you think you have significant heavy metal accumulation 
  • DHT (dihydrotestosterone) decreases size and production of hair follicles, especially common in men (male patterned baldness)

Here are some tips you can apply right away to help improve hair growth. Remember it might take a few months to see any differences.

  • shLook at the ingredients on your current shampoo and conditioner. Switch to products that do not have irritating chemicals and detergents that can dry out the scalp and interfere with hair production.
    – stay away from these words: sulphates, fragrance, phthalates, parabens, MEA, DEA,  formaldehyde, parfum, siloxane and triclosan
  • my collection so far...

    Add a few drops of rosemary or tea tree essential oil to your shampoo to help increase circulation to the scalp, and to reduce irritation from potential hair mites

  • Try a sage or apple cider vinegar hair rinse to stimulate hair growth (steep sage leaves in water and make a cool ‘tea’ or mix equal parts apple cider vinegar with water – pour over hair after shampooing)
  • hairDon’t brush your hair when it is wet! Brush your hair before going in the shower, and pat-dry wet hair afterwards – too much blow-drying can dry out hair.
  • Try an oil hair mask and scalp massage – use olive or coconut oil and apply to wet hair/scalp. Massage around and leave on hair for at least 5 minutes before shampooing and rinsing.



Friday Feature – Chickpea Brownies

I have a new obsession, and it includes beans.

Introducing: Chickpea Blondies and Black Bean Brownies.

If you’re looking for chewy and fudgy desserts that don’t contain a lot of refined sugar or random ingredients, give these a try. Why? First, they will be satisfying because beans are full of protein and fibre. Second, using chickpea flour or black beans helps make the dessert chewy, meaning there is no need for refined wheat flour to be involved. Great news for those that are wheat or gluten-free! And third, most companies making these types of baked goods are (so far) small and local. Which I LOVE to support!

I tried to make black bean brownies once a long time ago. While they were delicious, that recipe is long gone. Check out your local health food store for what they offer, or try either of these 2 recipes and make these tasty treats for yourself!

Chocolate Chip Blondies by Chocolate Covered Katie

Chocolate Chip Chickpea Blondies

and Black Bean Brownies also by Chocolate Covered Katie (my kind of girl!)

PS: if you live in the GTA, get inspired by first trying one of Shockingly Healthy’s pre-made chickpea brownies. They are unbelievably chocolatey and fudgy, and made sweeter with dates! Check out their website here for more details.