#Fitness Friday – The Dead Bug

The Dead Bug

Visualize a beetle or other type of bug trapped on its back with all it’s legs moving.  This is where this exercise got its name: the “Dying or Dead Bug” exercise.

The dead bug exercise is used by our professionals for 3 main reasons:

  • Teach patients how to properly use their “core” to stabilize the trunk and pelvis.
  • Dissociate the hips from the pelvis. (Allowing the hips to move in isolation from other trunk and glute movements)
  • Introduce a cross crawl pattern.

This basic exercise is valuable both as a teaching tool and a starting point.  By having the patient first begin shifting their weight from one foot to the other with their hands on their hips they will get tactile feedback to aid them in learning to stabilize the pelvis with the core muscles.  It is helpful to queue individuals with poor body awareness to keep their upper body relaxed, and not let the hips shift or rotate as they shift their weight from one foot to the other.  In order to move the hips without the pelvis shifting, or rotating one must stabilize the pelvis and trunk using the “Core” muscles.

Hip Dissociation: This teaches the body that it can in fact use the hips individually without the help of other muscles or movements.

Cross Crawl Patterning:  This is an extremely complex scientific topic that I will attempt to explain in a simplified way.  One of the first things your body learns how to do instinctively is crawling.  Its nature, it’s our brain’s way of figuring out this body we are in and it all comes down to input.  Put very simply, the body is thirsty for input and using the opposite sides of your body helps stimulate your brain to learn and recognize where it is in space (proprioception).  Our bodies learn to do things the easy way rather than the right way when it performs an incorrect movement over and over (slouching at the computer, typing, sitting) or when it is injured and trying to compensate for a body part that is causing pain or can’t perform its job properly.    We use exercises like this to help reboot the brain and encourage it to learn dissociation.

This exercise is also a great opportunity to teach breath awareness.  As an important part of core activation the diaphragm is often underused.  The diaphragm is a muscle located under the lungs.  Its job is to pull the lungs down into the bottom ribs (which in turn, pulls air in).  Teaching controlled Belly Breathing and having patients pattern the two exercises together will help take muscle tension out of the neck, use the diaphragm muscle and increase focus on the task.

#WednesdayWorkout: The Bird Dog

The Bird Dog

1. Start on your hands and knees

2. Opposite arm and leg are going to reach toward the walls – trying to get as long as you can

3. Bring them back down and switch to the other side

Hint: don’t lift the arm or leg too high – want to be long and not up to the sky!





Our patients know that we LOVE our coffee (and our desserts!). Check out this recipe below to satisfy that caffeine craving and sweet tooth!



Cappuccino Cheese Cake

Time: 1 hour

Serves: 12


6 square Baking chocolate, semi-sweet (for coffee truffles)

2/3 cup Ground coffee (strong, filling)

2/3 cup Butter, salted (crust)

2/3 tbsp Butter, salted (for coffee truffles)

3 cup crumbs Chocolate wafer (crust)

1 tbsp Coffee liqueur (26.5% alcohol by volume) (for coffee truffles)

2 cup Cream cheese (filling)

4 tsp Gelatin dry powder, unsweetened (filling)

3/4 cup Granulated sugar (filling)

1/2 cup Sour cream, 14% M.F. (filling)

2 cup Whipping cream, 35% M.F., sweetened, whipped (filling)

2 tbsp Whipping cream, 35% M.F., sweetened, whipped (for coffee truffles)

1 cup White chocolate wafers (for coffee truffles)


Chocolate Crust:

Melt butter in medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add wafer crumbs. Mix well. Press evenly in bottom and 1 (2.5 cm) inch up side of ungreased 9 inch (22 cm) springform pan with flat-bottomed glass. Chill for 1 hour.


Coffee Filling:

Sprinkle gelatin over coffee in small saucepan. Let stand for 1 minute. Heat and stir on low until dissolved completely. Cool slightly.

Beat cream cheese, sour cream, and sugar in a large bowl until smooth and well combined. Add gelatin mixture. Beat.

Beat whipping cream in small bowl until soft peaks form. Fold into cream cheese mixture. Spoon into crust. Spread evenly. Cover. Chill for at least 8 hours or overnight.

Dust top of cheesecake with cocoa.

Coffee Truffles:

Combine first 3 ingredients in a small heavy saucepan. Heat and stir on lowest heat, stirring often, until chocolate is almost melted. Do not overheat. Remove from heat. Stir until smooth.

Add liqueur. Stir. Turn into small bowl. Chill for about 2 hours until firm. Roll into balls using 1 tsp (5 mL) for each. Place on foil-lined baking sheets. Chill for about 1 hour until firm.

Heat melting wafers in small heavy saucepan on lowest heat for about 3 minutes, stirring often, until almost melted. Do not overheat. Remove from heat. Stir until smooth. Dip balls into white chocolate. Place, not touching, on baking sheet. Cool until chocolate is set.

Arrange truffles around outer edge of cheesecake. Dust truffles lightly with cocoa.



Recipe credit goes to MealGarden.



A step to improving our nutrition choices is by learning the dirty dozen and clean fifteen, which refers respectively to the fruits and vegetables that are most and least contaminated by pesticide use, according to the Environmental Working Group.

Why should we care?

Pesticides are toxic by design. Different pesticides have been linked to cancer, birth defects, hormone disruptions. (I mean if a pesticide is designed to make an insects stomach explode from eating it, it can’t be doing great things to our guts either.) But for most people, switching to strictly organic is not an option as it can get really pricey, so making informed choices on your produce selections can help minimize pesticide consumption while sticking to your budget!

The Dirty Dozen (in order of contamination)

  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Sweet bell peppers
  4. Peaches
  5. Strawberries
  6. Nectarines
  7. Grapes
  8. Spinach
  9. Lettuce
  10. Cucumbers
  11. Blueberries
  12. Potatoes

The Clean Fifteen (in order of least contamination)

  1. Onions
  2. Sweet Corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Avocados
  5. Cabbage
  6. Sweet peas
  7. Asparagus
  8. Mangoes
  9. Eggplant
  10. Kiwi
  11. Cantaloupe
  12. Sweet potatoes
  13. Grapefruit
  14. Watermelon
  15. Mushrooms

Remember washing and scrubbing your fruits and vegetables is an effective way of reducing the amounts of pesticides on your produce, but no washing method can remove 100% of the pesticides residue. The best technique is to wash under flowing water and using a stiff clean brush on tougher surfaces and gentle rubbing with your hands for soft tissued fruits and vegetables!



Sweet Potato Nachos

Time: 40 minutes

Serves: 4


2 medium potato Sweet potato (thinly sliced)

1 tsp Extra virgin olive oil (for drizzling)

1 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese, low fat

1 cup Black beans, canned (drained, rinsed)

1 Mango (peeled, diced)

3 medium Radish (sliced)

1 Avocado (diced)

1 Serrano pepper (thinly sliced)

1 Lime (sliced into wedges)

1/4 cup Adobo sauce (from canned chipotles in adobo sauce)

1 pinch Sea salt

1 dash Black pepper


Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Toss the sweet potatoes with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Spread in a thin layer on the baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Top with the cheese and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the sweet potatoes are golden brown.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and top the sweet potatoes with the black beans, mango, radishes, avocado, and serrano pepper. Add a squeeze of lime, drizzle with the adobo sauce, and sprinkle with a few pinches of salt. Serve straight from the pan with extra lime slices on the side.


Recipe Credit to MindBodyGreen!


Peanut Butter Cups with Banana and Dark Chocolate

Time: 1 h 25 minutes

Serves 8


1 medium Banana (diced)

1/2 cup Peanut butter, natural

2 tsp Coconut oil (melted)

1/4 tsp Vanilla extract, pure

200 gm Dark chocolate (finely chopped, for coating)

2 tbsp Coconut oil (melted, for coating)


In a small food processor, puree the banana, peanut butter, 2 tsp. coconut oil and vanilla extract until smooth and creamy. Set aside.

Place the chocolate and 2 tbsp coconut oil into a medium sized glass bowl and set it over a small sauce pot filled 1 inch up with water. Bring the water to a simmer and slowly stir the chocolate until it melts. Remove from the heat.

Using a small spoon, carefully spoon a thin layer of dark chocolate onto the bottoms of 8 regular sized silicon muffin containers or 50 very mini sized silicon molds. Place the molds onto a baking sheet and transfer to the freezer to harden for at least 5 minutes.

Once set, make a ball no wider than the diameter of the muffin or candy mold and press it on top of the chocolate base, being careful not to touch the sides of the mold but also to try to make as flat a surface as possible. If using a regular sized mold, I recommend a heaping tablespoon of filling, and if using the mini candy molds, more like ½ teaspoon.

Using a small spoon, very gingerly pour the chocolate down the sides to envelope the filling and on the top to fully cover the peanut butter. Transfer to the freezer to fully set- at least 20 minutes. 

These can be made well in advance, but are best enjoyed within 15 minutes of removing them from the freezer.


Credit to Abbey’s Kitchen!


Recipe: Chickpea Salad Sandwich with Sweet Apple Slaw

Ready in 15 minutes

Serves 4



2 can (15oz) Chickpeas, canned, drained (for salad)

1 tsp Lemon peel (zest) (for salad)

1 Avocado

1/2 cup Cottage cheese (1% M.F.) (for salad)

1 whole lemon(s)

Lemon juice (for salad)

1 medium Carrot (chopped, for salad)

1/2 small White onion (chopped, for salad)

1 cup Red cabbage (sliced, for slaw)

1 medium Red Apple (grated, for slaw)

1/4 cup Vegetable oil (for slaw)

1 tbsp Red wine vinegar (for slaw)

1 tbsp Dijon mustard (for slaw)

1 tbsp Honey (for slaw)

1 pinch Salt and pepper (for slaw)

8 slice Whole wheat bread

1 cup Spinach (divided for topping)


In a food processor, combine the chickpeas and lemon zest. Process until mostly smooth, with small chunks. In a separate bowl, mash the avocado with a fork. Add the cottage cheese and lemon juice, and stir until combined. Add the carrots, onions, salt and chickpeas to the bowl with the avocado mixture and stir. In a separate bowl, combine the cabbage and grated red apple. In a small bowl make the dressing by whisking together the oil, vinegar, mustard, and honey. Pour the dressing over the slaw. Toast the bread, and then assemble the sandwich. On the bread, layer the spinach or lettuce, chickpea salad and slaw.


Credit: Nutrition a la Natalie

Our monsters are not scary! Monster walks keep your glutes strong & healthy!

Monster walks aren’t scary! Ok maybe your glutes might see them as scary tomorrow ;).

One of our favourite exercises at DHP is Monster Walks! They are an easy glute exercise to do without any gym equipment and minimal space! All you need is a stretchy band to place around your knees (we prefer Therabands which can be purchased at DHP).

Step 1: Place a theraband around your knees leaving a few inches of space between your knees. With your feet should width apart, pretend like you are about to sit in a chair.

Step 2: Step one leg out on a 45 degree angle, stepping with heel first. Then step the other leg out on a 45 degree angle, stepping with heel first. Make sure that your knees don’t collapse inside, pushing outwards on the band.

Step 3: Stay low, keeping your bum pushed back and your core engaged while gliding through the steps. Complete 3 sets of 10.

You’ll be surprised how little it takes to feel a burn in your glutes!




Tips To Stay on Track When You Are Off the Map!

Tips To Stay on Track When You Are Off the Map!

Around this time of the summer we may have plans for cottage weekends or maybe even camping. Remember when we were kids, and this meant s’mores galore, hot dogs and lots of junk food? Now as adults, it’s all those things plus potentially…alcohol. Here are a few simple tips to help you stay on track:

  1. Plan it Out:
    Before your camping trip you need to do a little prep work first. I recommend making a meal plan for all the days you’ll be gone, so you’ll have more than enough healthy foods to get you through your trip.
  2. Pre-Cook:
    Pre-cook some of your meals at home before your trip to save yourself lots of time and effort once you’re away. You want to be able to relax and enjoy yourself so whatever you can do at home first will make a big difference.
  3. Freeze It:
    Before your trip, freeze any foods that could parish easily. Not only will they stay fresh but they will also help keep the other foods in your cooler cold! If you’re camping in a tent and won’t have a fridge, make sure you have lots of ice in your cooler and consume foods like meats, eggs, and dairy products first before the cooler gets warm.
  4. Pack Snacks:
    Since camping trips are usually full of hiking, swimming, or other outdoor activities, you need to make sure you’re fuelling your body with nutritious foods. Make homemade trail mix and pack some Hemp Heart Bites so you can bring them along during your day at the beach or outdoor adventure.
  5. Get Grilling
    Pack a portable grill or make sure there’s a BBQ at your cabin so you can grill burgers, fish, and lots of veggies for your meals. Using a grill is great since you don’t have to add any oil or butter to cook your foods.

I hope these tips help you have a successful getaway weekend!


Olivia Harty, Nutritionist