Conscious Cocktail Recipe

Spring is in the air, and so is patio season! Can I get a “HECK YES!” Patio season definitely means that there will be some drinks. I’ve noticed with my clients that alcohol has become a big topic of interest recently so I thought I’d include a conscious cocktail recipe in here that won’t put you too far off track with your Summer health goals

Conscious Cocktail Recipe

We made it through the Winter and the weather is starting to change! I know for me, as soon as the weather gets up into the double digits, I’m instantly in the mood for patio season, which means some cocktails are in order to refresh the palette. I believe in the 80:20 approach to diet, which means 80% of the time you are consciously feeding your body the most nutrient dense foods you have, as food is our fuel, but 20% of the time I allow food to be therapy. Alcohol can become a problem when we have specific weight loss goals in mind, not only because it is adding a lot of empty calories but because o the toll it takes on the body. The body has to do two things when we begin to drink alcohol: detox and metabolize. First, our body will always choose to begin to metabolize alcohol first over anything since it is a toxin. This means any other food in the body is most likely going to be stored as fat or sit in the stomach and cause indigestion. Secondly, it will continue to circulate in the blood until our liver is able to detoxify and excrete it which accounts for being drunk, but also is quite taxing on the organ. What better way to enjoy your cocktail in a conscious way than with this easy recipe your friends will love!

What you need:

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 oz. vodka
  • 2 oz. water
  • 1 tbsp lavender honey
  • Ice and a lemon wedge for garnish

How to do it:

  • In a small saucepan combine honey (1/2 cup) and lavender (1 tbsp). Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Use a small wire mesh to strain honey into a bowl or jar and allow cooling.
  • Combine all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker and shake it up vigorously to get that honey mixed in well!
  • Pour into your favourite cocktail glass, and garnish with a lemon wedge to serve.

Make Your Own Customized Wellness Kit for Mother’s Day

How to Make Your Own Customized Wellness Kit for Mother’s Day

Are you stumped with what to get your mom this mother’s day? Why not make her a basket full of items to help her unwind and relax. The best thing about this gift is it’s totally customizable to suit your mama best and the best gifts are made with love! Also, if you want you could always extend the gift into a whole day of relaxation and bonding time together, two gifts in one. Here’s what I would suggest putting in your basket to get you started.

  1. Essential Oil

There are a multitude of essential oils that when diffused into the air can provide relaxing and therapeutic effects. You can get the benefits of essential oils in a few different ways. You can buy natural candles, get a diffuser, or even utilize the essential oils by placing a few drops in the bottom of your shower or put in mason jars of hot water around the house. Some essential oils I would recommend for relaxation and calming effects are: lavender, rose, vetiver, ylang ylang, chamomile, or frankincense. Check out your local Saje store for plenty of essential oils and infused candles.

  1. Herbal Teas

Herbal teas can relax the mind and calm the body. I love recommending herbal teas to my clients as a way to unwind at night and avoid mindless eating. Some of my favourite herbal teas that can have these effects are: chamomile, lemon balm, skullcap, common sage, and passionflower. Herbal teas can be made into yummy iced teas as well and won’t contain all the added sugar a store bought pre-made iced tea may have. You could also throw in a cute mug with an inspiring quote to brighten your mom’s day!

  1. DIY Bath Salts

Here is a simple recipe for creating your own bath salts your mom can soak in with her favourite iced herbal tea or conscious cocktail (see recipe in the rest of the newsletter).

What You Need:

  • 1 cup Epsom salts
  • ½ cup natural sea salt
  • 20-30 drops of your favourite essential oils (preferred combination: juniper, lavender and rosemary)
  • Optional: adding some dried herbs like rosemary
  • Cute mason jar to keep your homemade bath salts air tight and fresh
  • Cute ribbon and label card

What to Do:

  • Mix all the ingredients well in a bowl
  • Pack into your cute mason jar and seal with the air tight lid
  • To use place about ½ cup of salts mixture in warm bath
  1. An Adorable Journal or Reading Material

Journaling is a technique that has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and allow you to empty your mind and sleep better. I personally have a journal bedside that I like to reflect on my day and jot down any lessons I’ve learned, cool places I might want to check out, feelings I may need to express, write down all my to do’s, and plan out my following day and/or week. This allows me to keep a constant communication with myself as well as staying organized in my daily life and in my mind. If you don’t think your mom is a journal-er, maybe pick up a book she’s been meaning to read or a magazine she likes to indulge in!

  1. Extra Customization

You know your mom best so if there are any other little things you know your mom loves like her favourite chocolates, coffee, make-up, beauty products, accessories etc. Throw those in there to add that extra bit of customization and show your mom how much you love and appreciate her!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out! XO

 

5 Tips for Healing the Gut

Many health concerns are treated as an isolated issue. For example, if you have asthma it must be a lung issue. If you have arthritis it must be a joint issue. If you have allergies it must be an immune issue. BUT what if I told you a lot of these issues begin in the gut. Sure, treating the symptom with medications will help you regain your quality of life, but are you really treating the root cause? Many today do have digestive problems including reflux or heartburn, irritable bowel, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, and colitis. In fact, belly problems account for over 200 million doctor’s visits and billions in health care costs annually. If you are not digesting your food properly, the chances you aren’t absorbing nutrients properly is pretty high, which could lead to nutrient deficiencies. Here’s my top 5 tips to restoring your good gut flora and start your healing process.

  1. Kill the bad gut bacteria- utilizing natural antibiotics such as oil of oregano, manuka honey, and garlic to clean out your system is step one in the healing process.
  2. Reduce antibiotic use- antibiotics can be crucial and life-saving if you have an immediate need for them, but use of antibiotics doesn’t just kill the “problem” you are using them for, but totally cleans out your good gut bacteria as well.
  3. Probiotics- Once we’ve killed all the bad bacteria it’s time to reintroduce and build our good gut bacteria. We can do this through the use of probiotics and fermented foods like kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh and some yogurts.
  4. Eat a diet rich in fibre- a diet rich in fibre will help feed the good gut bacteria as fibre acts like a prebiotic.
  5. Reduce the refined foods, sugars, processed foods etc- these foods feed and create bad gut bacteria. By enjoying these foods too regularly you will have reversed all the work you’ve put in thus far!

 

Olivia Harty

Nutritionist

oharty@dynamichealthandperformance.ca

Matcha Green Tea

This month we celebrate the wonderful Saint Patrick and that means we’ll be seeing a lot of the color GREEN! The color green is one of the most important to incorporate into the diet as the actual pigment itself holds a ton of nutrition. I’d like to put the spotlight on one of my favourite green foods and that is MATCHA GREEN TEA.

Match green tea is:

  • Packed with antioxidants including the powerful EGCg
  • Boosts metabolism and burns calories
  • Detoxifies effectively and naturally
  • Calms the mind and relaxes the body
  • Is rich in fiber, chlorophyll and vitamins
  • Enhances mood and aids in concentration
  • Provides vitamin C, selenium, chromium, zinc and magnesium
  • Prevents disease
  • Lowers cholesterol and blood sugar

Try swapping one of your loose leaf teas this month for a Match Green Tea instead!

Check out this link for more information on the tea:

Health Benefits of Matcha Tea

The month of March means spring break travel!

The month of March means March break travel, and if you’ve been sticking to your new year’s resolutions thus far with the idea of “summer body” in the back of your head, you probably want to avoid throwing all your hard work and progress out the window. Let me offer you a few tips and tricks to travel and stay on track without sacrificing the fun, care-free vacation vibes.

THE ROAD-TRIPPER:

Being on the road doesn’t mean you have to eat out and all the chain restaurants that pop up on the side of the highway. The best thing to do is purchase a cooler that you can plug into the cigarette lighter outlet to keep food cool inside the whole trip. Pack things like sandwiches, fresh fruit, individual hummus packets, pre-cut vegetable sticks, Greek yogurt cups, pre-cooked chicken breasts etc. You can also pack some dry foods as well such as protein bars and whole grain crackers to keep you satisfied and away from fast food. It would be wise to take a case of water bottles to stay hydrated, stay away from pop and fruit juices which could lead to you having over-energized kids in the backseat.  Packing your own is not only healthier, but way more cost-efficient. It’s a win-win!

THE JET-SETTER:

Most people start their vacation diet in the airport, simply because food availability is seemingly slim.  The Starbucks or Tim Horton’s restaurants don’t always have their full menu, and the convenience food is well, convenient! Since it’s hard to bring your own food with you through security the best advice I can give is eat a meal with protein at home before you get to the airport in order to know you’ve had a good meal and you are satisfied for the time being. Once you are through security and at the gates, you could always find a place that sells a salad with fresh grilled chicken you can bring on the plane with you or some healthy snacks to bring along! From my experience you can usually find some fruit here and there or some greek yogurt cups that wouldn’t be a bad choice! I also ALWAYS suggest grabbing yourself a massive water bottle for two reasons: having your own water you can say no to the complimentary pop and juice on the plane, and staying hydrated in the air helps to prevent feelings of jet-lag!

THE ALL-INCLUSIVE RESORT:

There is nothing better than showing up to your destination and having to plan or pay for nothing extra since it’s all already included! BUT, “free” food doesn’t mean you have to over-indulge. With the buffets or all-day snack bars, make sure you are listening to your body and understanding if you are truly hungry or eating because it’s social, emotional or simply because it’s there. If you aren’t quite sure how much to be consuming of one thing at a time, I always use the “eat by FIST” rule. One serving of anything should never be bigger than the size of your fist. Make sure to be eating adequate amounts of vegetables to ensure you are filling up on nutrient dense foods as well as incorporating some roughage to avoid that traveller’s constipation. Alcohol can be the biggest source of empty extra calories in someone’s day. One beverage can clock in anywhere from 150-300 calories, so if you are consuming up to six beverages a day you are adding in almost 900-2000 extra calories! If you are going to enjoy a few cocktails, always stick to the clearest alcohol you can find as it will be lowest in sugar, syrups and carbohydrates. Examples are vodka, white rum, gin, tequila etc. Speaking of beverages, again water will be your best friend especially if vacationing somewhere hot! Staying hydrated will not only keep you from experiencing head-aches, but will also keep you regular!

Lastly, but not least I’d like to touch on what everyone will probably be avoiding on their nice, relaxing vacation… EXERCISE! The extra calories and less healthy choices are inevitable, but if you could add in at least 1- minutes of intentional exercise a day, your body will LOVE YOU! This could be swimming, walking on the beach, hitting the hotel gym, hiking etc.

Happy Travels to all you vacationers!

 

Olivia Harty

Nutritionist

oharty@dynamichealthandperformance.ca

 

Enter the 13 weeks.

With no further ado, I introduce you to the 13 weeks of Ironman specific training.  It has arrived!  The last three months were designed to build a strong base of fitness so as to survive the demands on the next 13 weeks of race specific training.  During this time the duration and intensity of my workouts will sky rocket.  The structure of each week is designed to get the most out of each session.  No garbage mileage, no meaningless workouts, everything has a purpose and is designed to maximize my efforts and ‘destroy’ my weaknesses.  To help you understand what that looks like, I believe it is best to outline what a base training week compared to a week during the race specific build looks like.

Training week comparison:

December training week in the middle of base training:

Swim                       2x / week              Weekly Average 3800m

Bike                          3-4x / week         Weekly Average 110-175km

Run                           3x / week              Weekly Average 42km

Strength                 2x / week              Weekly Average 30min

TOTAL: ~8 hours /week

 

Week 1 of 13 of my race specific build (1:13weeks)

Swim                       2x / week              Weekly Average 5200m

(Sustained Time Trial efforts)

Bike                          3x / week              Weekly Average 205km

(~5 hours of intervals and sustained efforts)

Run                           3x / week              Weekly Average 60km

(Sustained tempo.  AKA ‘hurt for as long as you can’)

Strength                 2x / week              Weekly Average 1 hour

(Therapy based exercises and treatment)

TOTAL: ~12 hours /week

The above schedule will continue to build over the next 3 months.  It is individualized and carefully designed by my coach to suit me.  My coach and I have been working together for six years now, and he is the main reason I am able to do what I do. He understands my personality and how to maximize my training efforts.  He knows what works well for me and what doesn’t. This relationship is extremely important to ensure proper build and recovery when needed, when to peak and when you are simply too ‘burnt out’ to keep pushing.  Our relationship is based on open communication, constant collaboration, honesty, and trust.  My sole responsibility as an athlete is to do the training and take care of my body in the process.  That’s the only way it works!

The last point is about recovery.  After every three week build I have one week of recovery where the volume decreases by ~40% but the intensity remains high.  If I didn’t have a coach I would be training myself into the ground, constantly.  Having Erik coach me has really helped me understand the importance of making every workout count.  Garbage miles, extra bike session or run intervals can actually hinder your progress if done improperly, at the wrong time, within the wrong week, or too often.  Doing more is not always best.  Your success will be greater if you work 100% at what you are required to do, rather then tacking on extra session or intervals at random.   Adding a recovery week allows your body to rebuild, repair and re-energize in preparation to push more and harder for the next build phase.

Train Smarter!

WELCOME to the 13 weeks… I should say 12 weeks now, of Ironman build.

 

Stephanie Nogueira

Registered Physiotherapist

 

Let love be your lifestyle!

Sources: As stated, vitamin L is found in a great variety of sources but must be developed and nurtured to be available. Fear, anger, worry,
and many other human emotions can destroy vitamin L. It is found readily in most mums and dads, and is very highly concentrated in grandmothers and grandpas. Vitamin L is also found in cats, dogs, and horses, in flowers and birds; and in trees and plants. In food, it is especially found in home-cooked or other meals where vitamin L is used consciously as an ingredient. It is digested and absorbed easily and used by the body in its pure state, being eliminated almost unchanged; in this, it is unique among the vitamins.

Functions: This vitamin acts as the “universal” vitalizing energy. Vitamin L helps to catalyze all human functions and is particularly important to heart function and the circulation of warmth and joy. Digestion is very dependent on appropriate doses of vitamin L, as is the function of the nervou system. Adrenaline, the brain endorphins, natural tranquillizers and other hormones are enhanced by vitamin L as well.

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Uses: The list of uses is even longer than that of the functions. Vitamin L is an important nutrient in all human relations, domestic to international. We should definitely put it in the drinking supply! It is a vital ingredient in all health practitioners, doctors, clinics, and hospitals. Besides being referred to as the “universal” vitamin, Love is also known as the “vitamin of healing.”

Deficiency and Toxicity: There are rarely any serious problems from excess intake of vitamin L. Side effects, however, may include swooning, a strange
feeling in the chest, goose pimples, and staring blankly into space. Usually, though, amounts many times the minimum requirements offer no difficulty and are often helpful. Abrupt withdrawal from regular vitamin L use could be hazardous, as the love vitamin is somewhat addicting. Most people more easily tolerate increased amounts of vitamin L though huge increases should be taken slowly to prevent the side effects mentioned previously.

Requirements: The requirements may vary from person to person according to a wide range of factors. There are no specific RDA’s (Recommended Daily Allowances) for vitamin L, although infants and small children usually require fairly large doses. The suggested minimum from the Chinese culture is four hugs per day to maintain health. Recently though, the International Hug Association (IHA) has changed its guidelines and suggests that a minimum of four hugs daily is needed to prevent vitamin L deficiency, six hugs a day for maintenance and ten hugs per day for growth.

 

Olivia Harty

Nutritionist

oharty@dynamichealthandperformance.ca

 

Food and Mood!

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A new year begins and January rushes by as we start to get busy with all the new tasks, goals, plans, and resolutions. By the time February rolls around, we begin to settle into our new routine, but so do feelings of seasonal depression. We blame the weather, but have you ever thought about how what you eat can change the way you feel, the way you think, improve your energy levels and help you cope with stress? Here’s how:

  1. Blood Sugar Control

How often are you eating through-out the day, and what do those meals/snacks look like? When our blood sugars are spiked up high due to a high Glycemic Index food or foods that have a quick release of sugar into our bloodstream, our sugars then will drop even lower than they should.  The higher the blood sugars go, the lowers they drop. When we get ourselves into a blood sugar dip, we become irritable, get headaches, become cranky, can’t focus as well and crave even more sugar! Once we indulge in our next quick fix of sugar and repeat this cycle over and over, you go from cranky to monster! Some tips to avoid this blood sugar roller coaster are:

  • Choose whole foods- whole grains, lentils, beans, nuts, seeds, low GI fruits and veggies
  • Eat 5 or more servings of fruits and veggies per day and choose leafy, dark green and root veggies to ensure vitamin, minerals and fibre intake is adequate
  • Avoid fruit juice, sugar, processed foods and foods containing refined sugar
  • Eat protein with each meal and snack
  • Eat 5-6 balanced mini-meals per day including breakfast

 

  1. Nutrient Deficiencies and Neurotransmitter Production

Neurotransmitters are the brain chemicals that allow us to relay messages all over our body. Some of us may not have optimal levels of neurotransmitters and our diet could be the cause. When we are lacking or are deficient in certain vitamins and minerals our neurotransmitter production becomes sub-optimal. The two neurotransmitters I would like to discuss are serotonin, and dopamine.

Serotonin is responsible for our mood, memory, and sleep. When we find this neurotransmitter to be low we start to see signs of seasonal disorder/depression and possibly insomnia. How to boost this neurotransmitter through diet: vitamin D, chocolate, leafy greens, and bananas are a few examples. You can also increase this neurotransmitter through sleep, spending time in nature, smiling, and exercise!

Dopamine is responsible for giving your brain energy. It is a reward neurotransmitter that gives us motivation, pleasure and euphoria. If this neurotransmitter gets too low we can experience lack of motivation and have problems staying focused or holding our attention to a task. Ways to improve dopamine levels are: fish, eggs, spirulina, red beets, apples, kale, oregano oil, bananas, and berries.

 

  1. The Sunshine Vitamin

It’s no secret that living in Canada can get a little depressing in the winter months, but did you know a vitamin deficiency is actually the cause of these feelings, and the lack of sun is causing it! Vitamin D is a vitamin that becomes activated in our system through sunlight. As the gloomy winter days roll around, our stores of vitamin D begin to deplete, and we have no way of filling them back up. This is when supplementation comes into play. Food, vitamins and minerals are medicine! By increasing your vitamin D intake through supplementation in the winter months can improve your mood and way of thinking drastically. The good thing about this vitamin is that it is fat soluble so it will build up nicely in your system and keep you feeling wonderful all winter long!

 

  1. Cortisol Control

STRESSSSSSS! We all experience it, we all blame it, but who does anything about it? Stress is nothing more than a reaction. Once you begin to think about it as that, you can gain more control over it. By reaction I mean simply that. We experience stress, our body goes into fight or flight mode, our cardiovascular, respiratory and nervous systems become engaged, sugar is released into our blood and our cortisol levels go through the roof. This is ok to be occurring once and a while as this survival mechanism is meant for short, rare occurrences. For most of us, we live in a state of chronic stress, which means our body systems, our blood sugars and our hormones are constantly being put to work and at higher levels then they need to be. Since we’ve already discussed blood sugar control, I’d like to focus on how to control cortisol levels. Cortisol interferes with immunity, sex drive, sleep, weight control, and other aspects of health like our bones! Good news is there is a long list of vitamins, minerals and botanicals that can help reduce these levels of cortisol.

  • Vitamin C
  • B-Complex (especially vitamin B6)
  • Calcium + Magnesium
  • Green tea (Theanine content)
  • Magnolia Bark
  • Licorice Root

Are you starting to feel like 2017 is already got the best of you? Maybe it’s your nutrition! Making sure we control blood sugars, avoid nutrient deficiencies, and work to control our stress, an incredible improvement in mood can be accomplished!

 

Olivia Harty

Nutritionist

oharty@dynamichealthandperformance.ca

Pre-Race Schedule

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We all want to improve on our past performance, continue to grow as athletes and achieve greater things.  I recognized quite a long time ago that if I want to improve my performance as an Ironman I must identify three things; 1) my weaknesses and how I am going to improve them, 2) what pre races I will be doing in order to assess my progress, and 3) how to structure my training so as to gain the most out of every effort.  In my last blog post, I defined my weaknesses and the plans to overcome them.  Today I wanted to outline my pre-race structure.

Pre-Race Schedule – This is tricky because triathlon and winter do not mix well!  But the current race prep schedule is as follows:

  1. I will schedule a simulation Olympic distance race in February. The Olympic distance is 1500m swim, 40km bike and 10km run.  I will be in Florida for a week as I manage a crew of 4 people supporting one out of 50 athletes through Ultraman Florida.  Afterwards, I will take one morning to myself and do a simulation Olympic triathlon.  You have to maximize every moment you have!
  2. Track Cycling Provincial Championships in February – This will give me an opportunity to test my bike fitness, speed, confidence and focus. I will be racing in several individual and group events.
  3. I plan on racing Around the Bay 30km in March to test out my nutrition and pacing on the run. This run will likely be done after a hard bike ride the day before.

That is pretty much it!  The plan might change slightly in order to accommodate any unforeseen incidents or to capture some opportunities should they arise.  In an ideal situation, I would complete a half ironman race 6-8 weeks before my Ironman.  But traveling down south yet again this spring is possible.  While it is not ideal to schedule a spring Ironman living so far north, it is completely possible.  You must learn to love the treadmill and indoor bike training.  Lucky for me, I love riding on the velodrome.  I will continue to do so, but it will not be my own form of bike training in preparation for Ironman.

Some of you may be wondering; considering the length of the winters we have will I even be able to get outsides and do a long ride before April 22nd.  Likely, I will not.  Which means I will be doing 4-5hour bike rides on my trainer, and sandwich it between rides on the track in order to give me some variety.  I came to terms with this when I first registered for Ironman Texas.  I knew what I was getting myself into and accepted it.  That is very important when deciding which Ironman to do.  I choose Texas because it has the exact race profile that I desire and that I am the strongest at.  As a result, I have to conform to the demands of the training associated with a spring Ironman.  I want this, so I am going to push through hell for it.

 

Stephanie Nogueira,

Registered Physiotherapist

Dynamic Health and Performance

 

Amp up your brain health!

Have you ever had a huge exam you weren’t prepared for, and you thought that maybe eating a square of dark chocolate, or having a piece of salmon would help your brain to recall and retain information? Well, you’re not TOO far off with that thought. The way we fuel our body is the way we fuel our brains. Brain food is a real thing! Not only will the way you eat improve memory, clear thinking, brain energy, brain mood but it also proven to improve mental health and decrease psychiatric disorders. Food production and manufacturing techniques, coupled with changing lifestyles and increasing access to processed foods, mean that our intake of fresh, nutritious, local produce is much lower, at the same time as our intake of fat, sugar, alcohol and additives being much higher. It is no wonder that 1/5 Canadians will suffer from a mental illness, and children’s mental disorders such as ADD/ADHD, OCD, anxiety etc. are more prominent.

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It’s not only what you eat that will have an effect on your brain health but the health of your gut! For example, serotonin a major brain neurotransmitter that is responsible for regulating sleep and appetite, mediate your mood and inhibit pain is produced in your gastrointestinal tract. Your gastrointestinal tract is lined with a hundred million nerve cells, or neurons, it makes sense that the inner workings of your digestive system don’t just help you digest food, but also guide your emotions.

Foods to consider incorporating into your daily diet to improve your gut health and amp up your brain health:

  1. Fatty Fish
  2. Whole Grains
  3. Lean Protein, Avoid red meat
  4. Leafy Greens
  5. Yogurt with active probiotics

 

Olivia Harty
Nutritionist
oharty@dynamichealthandperformance.ca