Style Showcase – Anna Kosturova

You may have begun to notice that I’m featuring more local artists, designers, shops and restaurants on this website than before.

Since there were travel restrictions for a long while, I looked closer to home and began to pay more attention to artists within my own circles, city and surroundings.  And let me tell you – we do not lack here in British Columbia for local talent in plenty of areas.  And so it is with great pleasure that I share another chic boutique owned by a local designer I recently met by the name of Anna Kosturova.  Anna’s gorgeous pop-up shop is located in Gastown, Vancouver where she sells her ethically made and sustainable designs of the most exquisite crochet clothing.  Shown here in photos taken by me.

The vibe in the shop is pure Summer at it’s absolute finest.  And if crochet isn’t your thing, there’s enough locally made eye candy inside to attract any fashionista worth his/her salt.  If you’re wondering where this phrase originated (of course you are!) the saying “worth its salt” originated with the ancient Romans, who valued salt highly.  A true fashionista values genuine “style” – even if it’s not really their own style so to speak.  Speaking of which….

eye candy

Nap Lovers Candles by Pourlair, Sandals & Flip Flops by Malvados, Photographic Prints by Rebecca Amber, Hard Kombucha sign by Plenty…and plenty more like sunglasses, handbags, hats, bikinis….it’s possible I may have missed some things…there’s a lot to look at.

Pure Paradise!

this photo by Anna Kosturova

Website: https://annakosturova.com/

Photos: d. king

 

 

 

ART from the Heart

Is your house lighted or a dark prison? Are you living in every room or only one?  Are you living on a small level or listening to the call of your soul?

These are words from Jan Maccormack, a talented artist friend who resides in Sechelt, Sunshine Coast, B.C.  

I’m so impressed with Jan’s colorful and soulful paintings that truly come from the heart.  If I had to select only one, I’d have a tough time choosing.  Jan’s creativity results from her obsessive, experimental & restless nature. She paints using many different styles. They’re all so beautiful and uplifting...just had to share them with you.  

The Gateway in & out of this Incarnation (Series) by Jan Maccormack

The more lit your Soul, the more clearly you’ll see through illusions.  Allow yourself an inspiring glimpse of the bigger picture. Capture your creative visions, dreams, insights and intuitions as they are amplified.  Paint them, draw them, write them, dance them, cook them, pour them, sew them, mind map them, sculpt them ….. whatever embeds and imprints them into your heart, your psyche, your soma and your memory banks.

As of now… commit to lighting ‘all’ those rooms in your psyche.

You have the genius of heightened perception, seeing things, knowing things, and being there. The blessings, the grace, the heart’s wonder are full.  As this way of being ripens and matures, you draw the same kinds of marvels and wonders from others which makes it possible for the vibrancy to spread, grow and effortlessly bring this world alive!

I am thankful for existence today. I am grateful for where my life is, at/in this moment.

Where to find Jan’s ART:

Websitewww.janmaccormack.com

https://www.facebook.com/janmaccormackartist

https://www.instagram.com/janmaccormack_artist/

 

 

 

Mentally Mindful

R U OK?

Our mental health: It’s on everyone’s mind…no pun intended.  And with good reason.  With so many uncertainties coming to us all at once, how do any of us manage to stay sane in today’s world?

I like this image from healthline.com

Among various causes for concern, the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly not helped.  It has negatively affected many people’s mental health and created new barriers for people already suffering from mental illness and substance use disorders. During the pandemic, about 4 in 10 adults in the U.S. have reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder, a share that has been largely consistent, up from one in ten adults who reported these symptoms from January to June 2019.

The good news is that people are becoming more open to discussing this previously taboo personal issue.  Especially since famous people like Prince Harry and Meghan Markle bring it into the open to try to raise awareness and help end the stigma related to this problem. The reasoning being that no-one should keep a stiff upper lip at the expense of their own well-being.

We know that blocking emotions for any length of time is not healthy.  It can result in severe psychological effects. So aside from talking to anyone from a professional to a friend, what else can we do?

Aside from a good night’s sleep (not always the easiest to accomplish if you have anxiety) can nutrition help?

According to Inspire Health (a Canadian leader in integrative cancer care with medical doctors, clinical counselors, dietitians and exercise therapists all working together to help support people dealing with cancer) it can have a positive effect.

My husband and I were regulars at Inspire Health in Vancouver when he was going through his cancer journey.  While they sadly to say could not save him, for many months they were very helpful in helping to raise spirits by offering classes on everything from group meditation to acupuncture, counselling and healthy eating classes.  All with people going through similar circumstances in a safe, peaceful and nurturing environment.

After almost four years I still receive e-mails from Inspire Health.  Here is the latest which I’m happy to share with you:

From INSPIRE HEALTH Blog:

Our mental health and emotional well-being are not always the easiest topics to discuss — and this may be one of the reasons why these topics are not always explored in a medical appointment. Strategies for managing anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions often include medications, stress reduction, and counselling. But, excitingly, there is new and emerging evidence showing that nutrition can also play a significant role in supporting our mental health.

You may have heard of the amazing neurotransmitter called serotonin, which helps to regulate sleep, appetite, and mood, and also helps to inhibit pain. Did you know that 95% of our serotonin is produced in our intestinal tract? This production is influenced by the kinds and amounts of different bacteria that live in that gastrointestinal tract, also known as the microbiome.

The gut is connected directly to brain processes via the gut-brain axis. This axis includes the vagus nerve and nervous system, chemicals called neurotransmitters, the immune system, and the chemicals produced by the microbes and bacteria living in the gut. Think of the microbiome as an amazingly diverse forest system where we want various species of trees, fungi, moss, grasses, and other plants to thrive.

We have been hearing about probiotics for at least the past decade, and we are now realizing the importance of not only eating foods rich in probiotics (e.g.: yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, miso) but also feeding these bacteria with fibre. In addition to fibre, there are also specific nutrients in our foods that support our mental health, which include our B vitamins, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Keeping blood sugars relatively stable can also be supportive for our mental well-being. We can keep these sugars stable by creating a balance of protein, carbohydrates, fats and fibre in our meals and snacks.

So, can nutrition support mental health? Yes, and in many ways!

Here are a few practical tips:

  1. Feed the bacteria in the gut with a good amount of fibre each day. Aim for 20-30 grams per day, unless you have been advised differently by your physician.
    • Ground flax in your morning cereal
    • Top your yogurt with berries and bran bud type cereal
    • Swap your white or whole wheat bread product for whole grain or sprouted grain
    • Incorporate more beans and lentils into your meals and snacks
  1. Get your nutrients from whole foods as much as possible and include foods with B vitamins, vitamin D, and omega-3 fats.
    • B Vitamins: salmon, leafy greens, eggs, legumes
    • Vitamin D: salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, eggs, fortified foods
    • Omega 3: flaxseed, chia, walnuts, salmon, sardines, hemp hearts
  1. Create balance in meals and snacks.
    • Like a smoothie for breakfast? Make sure there is enough protein by including foods such as nuts, seeds, nut butter, yogurt, or soft tofu.
    • Soup or salad for lunch? Make a soup creamier and full of protein by blending soaked cashews. Add nuts, seeds, beans, or another protein source to salads.
    • Balance your dinner. Try for half of your plate as veg/fruit, ¼ as your starch (rice, quinoa, potatoes, pasta) and the last ¼ as your protein source – fish, beans, tofu, poultry, etc.
    • Add to your snack. When having a piece of fruit, try adding some nuts or nut butter (e.g., apple slices with almond butter) or try one of our delicious snack recipes from our website such as the spiced carrot cake globes.

Can Nutrition Support Mental Health and Well-Being?

ON ANOTHER NOTE: I would like to give reference to a website of a personal friend who offers mentorship for mind, body and soul. Her name is Sabine. She comes highly recommended.  Sabine’s workshops and seminars are offered online or in person (if you happen to live in Vancouver or in Berlin when she’s there).    As an economist, published author, keynote speaker on wholeness and an expert in consciousness development and holistic marketing, her main focus is helping individuals, couples, and organizations in inner change processes.  Her spiritual initiations and retreats help to transform fears, blockages, resistances, doubts and traumas.  Well being at it’s core.

Human beings cannot solve current and future challenges on the same levels of consciousness on which they created them. Disbalances that show themselves individually, collectively, regionally and globally in the form of diseases, crises, conflicts and wars in all systems can neither be permanently controlled nor fought. They can, however, be completely transformed. Through higher levels of consciousness. Their attainment requires a whole transformation – Sabine Schneider – Founder
 
 

Remember; your life only gets better when you do!

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Forbes Magazine

KFF

 

Supplement Sunday: CoenzymeQ10

CoQ10: More than just Heart Health

Composition with food that contains Coenzyme Q10.

This article was written by Chancellor Faloon from Life Extension Magazine (the science of a healthier life).

I’ve been taking Life Extension Supplements which unfortunately are not available in Canada (although you can order them online) for over a year now and have had no issues whatsoever with asthma or otherwise.  The quality is top-notch and I’ve added CoQ10 to my repertoire of necessary supplements.  Their magazine offers so many interesting articles…so I thought it best to share a few from the experts – starting with CoQ10.  References are included at bottom of page.

While CoQ10 is best known for promoting heart health, research is continually showing a diverse range of body-wide applications.

  • CoQ10 Improves Metabolic Syndrome

    A meta-analysis was done of trials that tested coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) on patients with metabolic syndrome. Compared to a a placebo, CoQ10 supplementation lowered inflammation markers and increased levels of a cell-signaling protein related to improved regulation of glucose and fatty-acid breakdown.1

  • CoQ10 Increases Blood Flow

    In a clinical trial, CoQ10 (ubiquinol) improved cardiovascular function, as shown by increased flow-mediated dilation2 (widening of an artery when blood flow increases) and levels of nitric oxide (which aids in dilation). Harmful LDL oxidation was reduced with a higher dose.3

  • CoQ10 Enhances Exercise Performance

    Exercise performance and several biomarkers related to fatigue were improved in mice and humans given CoQ10 (ubiquinol). Liver and muscle glycogen content increased, providing the body with more fuel for prolonged exercise.4-6

  • CoQ10 Increases Cellular Energy

    In a cell study, CoQ10 (ubiquinol) was able to prevent age-induced oxidative stress, increase the formation of new *mitochondria (the cells’ energy generators), and was associated with the removal of old, damaged *mitochondria.7

  • CoQ10 Protects Aging Heart Muscle

    A recent review shows supporting evidence that CoQ10 can benefit heart failure patients by preventing age-related reductions in myocardial (heart muscle) ATP, the powerhouse of our cells.8

  • CoQ10 Mediates Inflammation

    To see if CoQ10 could prevent damage that may occur with strenuous exercise, 100 firemen were randomized to receive CoQ10 (ubiquinol) or a placebo. The CoQ10 group had significantly improved hematological (blood) parameters, increases in beneficial growth factors and anti-inflammatory cytokines, and a decrease in pro-inflammatory cytokines.9

  • CoQ10 Protects Against Acetaminophen Liver Injury

    A study in mice found that CoQ10 protected against acetaminophen– (Tylenol®) induced liver injury. CoQ10 also enhanced removal of damaged *mitochondria.10

*Mitochondria (in the most simple terms I was able to find) are known as the powerhouses of the cell. They are **organelles that act like a digestive system which takes in nutrients, breaks them down, and creates energy rich molecules for the cell. The biochemical processes of the cell are known as cellular respiration.

An** organelle is a subcellular structure that has one or more specific jobs to perform in the cell, much like an organ does in the body.

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Wellness Specialist at 1-866-864-3027.

References

  1. Dludla PV, Orlando P, Silvestri S, et al. Coenzyme Q10 Supplementation Improves Adipokine Levels and Alleviates Inflammation and Lipid Peroxidation in Conditions of Metabolic Syndrome: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Int J Mol Sci. 2020 May 4;21(9).
  2. Kelm M. Flow-mediated dilatation in human circulation: diagnostic and therapeutic aspects. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2002 Jan;282(1):H1-5.
  3. Sabbatinelli J, Orlando P, Galeazzi R, et al. Ubiquinol Ameliorates Endothelial Dysfunction in Subjects with Mild-to-Moderate Dyslipidemia: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Nutrients. 2020 Apr 15;12(4).
  4. Chen HC, Huang CC, Lin TJ, et al. Ubiquinol Supplementation Alters Exercise Induced Fatigue by Increasing Lipid Utilization in Mice. Nutrients. 2019 Oct 23;11(11).
  5. Cooke M, Iosia M, Buford T, et al. Effects of acute and 14-day coenzyme Q10 supplementation on exercise performance in both trained and untrained individuals. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2008 Mar 4;5:8.
  6. Orlando P, Silvestri S, Galeazzi R, et al. Effect of ubiquinol supplementation on biochemical and oxidative stress indexes after intense exercise in young athletes. Redox Rep. 2018 Dec;23(1):136-45.
  7. Niu YJ, Zhou W, Nie ZW, et al. Ubiquinol-10 delays postovulatory oocyte aging by improving mitochondrial renewal in pigs. Aging (Albany NY). 2020 Jan 20;12(2):1256-71.
  8. Di Lorenzo A, Iannuzzo G, Parlato A, et al. Clinical Evidence for Q10 Coenzyme Supplementation in Heart Failure: From Energetics to Functional Improvement. J Clin Med. 2020 Apr 27;9(5):1266.
  9. Diaz-Castro J, Moreno-Fernandez J, Chirosa I, et al. Beneficial Effect of Ubiquinol on Hematological and Inflammatory Signaling during Exercise. Nutrients. 2020 Feb 6;12(2).
  10. Zhang P, Chen S, Tang H, et al. CoQ10 protects against acetaminophen-induced liver injury by enhancing mitophagy. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2021 Jan 1;410:115355.

Edamame Elevated

During summer months and especially now with this scorching heat, I’m leaning towards quick ‘n easy recipes that don’t skimp on flavor.

Photo: d. king

Usually a side dish when ordering sushi, edamame is super easy to make at home and to serve as part of a Japanese home style dinner or as a snack or in a salad (with pods removed from shell). 

I borrowed this simple and savory recipe from the unfortunately now defunct Jazz Cellar club in Vancouver.  Along with listening to the best jazz musicians in the city, it was always a staple on their menu.  It was also an elevated taste to what you would normally get in any Japanese restaurant where they serve up plain edamame with salt.

This recipe is a little different because I first steam the pods on their own then sauté them in a mix of toasted sesame oil, fresh chopped garlic  + ginger, chili flakes and *soy sauce. Then mix everything together in a bowl and sprinkle generously with course sea salt.

Photo; d. king

Ok; well I guess that IS the recipe.  Since the bulk of the flavor is on the outside…make sure to lick the pods.

*Unless you have a soy allergy, edamame is likely safe to eat.  There are several health benefits of Edamame:

In addition to being a decent source of soy protein, edamame is rich in healthy fiber, antioxidants and vitamin K. 

It does not raise blood sugar, 

Edamame (RDI) Mature soybeans (RDI)
Folate 78% 14%
Vitamin K1 33% 24%
Thiamine 13% 10%
Riboflavin 9% 17%
Iron 13% 29%
Copper 17% 20%
Manganese 51% 41%

Enjoy!

 

Summer Breeze

It’s official.  I read somewhere that the goal is…to create a life you don’t need a vacation from.  I’m taking that to heart.  Here are a few recent photos to keep the mood:

Ahhh…picnics are pure pleasure.  This is Vanier Park in Kits Point – short steps from where we live.

We’re like mice with our love for cheese. We’re so cheesy!

Sunset Beach. Gather and Co.

Kits Beach Coffee Company

I don’t know about you but I’m on my way to the beach with a picnic basket.

 

The Fashion Essential – Classic White Shirt

Whether you dress it up for a polished put-together look or wear it casually with jeans or shorts, you can never go wrong.  Especially with so many versions to choose from.  Tucked in, left out, or worn halfway…this fresh looking closet staple is certainly nothing new. It has been in style forever. The only rule is to make sure it’s clean.  On this page some random photos of crisp button downs with a few people you might recognize.  

SJP

Cindy Crawford

Every woman should own at least one.  Do you have a favorite?

 

 

Food Revisited

Everyone Likes Good Food and everyone likes convenience right?

Sun-Dried Tomato & Ricotta Grilled Flatbreads with Fresh Herbs & Balsamic-Dressed Salad –  Good Food Meal Delivery Kit.

No one will disagree that the year 2020 altered us in ways we never saw coming.  Food wise, the flexibility of being able to go to any restaurant was definitely challenged.  It even changed the way we shop for food. We had to do more planning.  Even now people still have to quarantine for two weeks when returning home from another country.  At least here in Vancouver. Which means either having to order groceries or have a friend or family member drop groceries off for you.  Sometimes it’s much simpler to order directly from a store, especially if said friend forgets that one important ingredient that will complete your menu. But we won’t name that friend.  The inconvenient truth.

Which brings me to the booming business of the Meal Delivery Service.  While many have been around for some time now, more and more new ones have been popping up and have become very popular in the past 15 months.  They’re a good solution for busy people or if you want to try something different. Some companies deliver fully cooked meals and other ones deliver only the ingredients.  

A friend recently shared with me a Canadian online grocery subscription service called GOOD FOOD – inspired by the freshest ingredients, their chefs create eighteen unique recipes each and every week. They deliver meal kits, read-to-cook meals, and grocery products to your door each week.  The ingredients for whichever recipe you choose are in the exact amount for dinner for two people.  It might be fun to try something new.  The photos look inspiring for sure.  They target anyone from the novice cook to the seasoned chef.  Makes it easy to follow.  It can help to save time in the kitchen, and reduce unnecessary food waste. They let you know what they’ll be sending, what you need to cook it (like what size pan, if it requires parchment paper, etc.) and info like how many calories, total carbs, sodium, saturated fat, sugars and protein in each recipe.  That’s pretty great.

Vietnamese-Style Pork Chop Bún Bowls with Rice Vermicelli, Asian Greens & Toasted Peanuts

You can pick and choose from an extensive list of awesome looking recipes.  

They say that by cutting out the middlemen, they’re able to offer fresher, higher quality food than traditional retailers at up to 15% lower than super market prices.  I realize this is beginning to sound somewhat like an infomercial…however the prices seem reasonable so might as well share the info.

It sounds great and I might try it although these days I don’t like to plan too much ahead of schedule.  I’m one of those who, except for certain kitchen staples, I shop for what I need when I need it, which many times means on a daily basis, or every other day.

However if you’re very busy or live in an area not so close to shopping it might be an excellent choice.

I’m curious to know how many of you have tried something like this before… and if so, how did it work out?  

You can check them out here:

https://www.makegoodfood.ca/

Mondo Mundo

MONDO TRADING COMPANY is a striking new store in Vancouver located on Granville Island which immediately drew my attention.  Their handmade and one-of-a-kind products from over 30 countries brought me back to travelling to far away places.

Beautiful Handmade Baskets from Kenya and Ghana

Whenever I’ve travelled I always look for well made artisan products that are unique and specific to the region to bring home.  I have many pieces around my home that always bring me back to a particular time and place.  Everything from African Zulu baskets to pottery and artwork.  I flew home from Brazil with seven large original oil paintings that were on wood canvas.  I refused to remove them from their frames so my friend had to order a  limo to meet me at the airport to bring them home.  I brought 8 large hand painted Armenian pottery dishes back from the old city of Jerusalem, among other breakables. From Jamaica, a large wood carved fish and a carved rasta stick – a fish and a stick! I’ll leave it at that.  You get the picture.

So I can relate to Carolyn Hopkinson who is the owner.

Carolyn’s mission is to improve the lives of makers by supporting their craft and providing a fair and sustainable income.

Carolyn’s passion for travel started from her childhood days, growing up in Guyana, South America with a father who travelled the world on business.  His gifts represented a world that she wanted to explore.  I understand the feeling.

After following her passion and exploring countries around the world for the past 40 years, she discovered some of the most beautiful handiwork from local artisans with no resources to market their handicrafts outside their communities.  

She would fill her suitcase with their treasures and return home with the promise that one day she would make a difference in these artisans lives.  Now she is.

 

Lots more on their website:

mondotradingcompany.com

100% cotton from Nicaragua

Oh…to travel again!