Lifestyle: Living Little

minimalism.  What is it you really need in life to feel comfortable?

I’ve come to appreciate that what you really need to enjoy a comfy home environment is something very simple. Other than a solid roof over your head it comes down to a few basics…a comfortable bed, hot running water and elements that work. You can fill up your living space with all the extras you like, but if you don’t have the necessary comforts (if you’re not camping in a tent, that is) you won’t feel protected and secure. After that you can add in life’s little luxuries…smart TV, laptop, blow dryer, throw pillows, designer bags, etc.

I know this because it has become my living situation in Palm Springs for the past three months. I’ve downgraded but am happier for it.  And it’s like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders – only a small weight mind you.  And a weight I put there myself.  Because I wasn’t completely happy with staying in hotels (subject always to availability not to mention prices that go waaay up depending on what’s going on around town & on  weekends) and renting places (which by the way have become harder and harder to find not to mention the astronomical damage deposit fee you must leave although if you don’t wreck the place you’ll get back).  At first my husband and I ended up renting a townhouse with a lot more space but a lot less soul than what we now call part/time home.

view from the front at dusk

at sunrise

Last year when visiting Palm Springs and by an extremely pleasant turn of events (bumping into someone I know from Vancouver at a music venue who told me about this place) I discovered a small RV park very centrally located within a short walking distance to town center. With a clubhouse/pool/sauna/games room, etc. and a hiking mountain right behind the park and shops/restaurants closeby.  Bonus: tons of hummingbirds. Out of curiosity I phoned to see if any spots were available for a short stay to camp in the Eurovan this time around (in between vacating the condo rental & hotel).  They did not have anything available, however a park model RV came up for sale in a location I liked within the park so let’s just jump ahead here…I bought it.  It’s super comfy, everything works and the dogs especially love it.  You make the space your own. Each is different, some are very nice, others not.  I found that people customize to their personal liking .

patio

My husband had to fly back to Vancouver for appointments.  On a Westjet flight back to PS he sat next to an interesting woman with a female dog sitting on her lap.  It was the woman’s first visit to Palm Springs staying at her cousin’s gorgeous condo.  We ended up going for a dog walk and she came back to our pad.  She loved it and said if another came up for sale she wanted to buy it as a more affordable and perfect alternative to renting or buying a condo.  (Bonus: no property tax issues and withholding tax at time of sale.)

instead of a white picket fence, a white lattice fence which I put together myself

Apparently nothing had come up for sale in a long time and the park is usually booked up a year in advance. But to her good luck karma, a couple only two spots away from us decided they wanted to sell their lovely upgraded park model and travel elsewhere for a change.  All to say…we have a new neighbour! And Jack has a nice new little girlfriend.  Funny how things work out.

The outer surroundings where we’re located are something else – anything but minimal to counterbalance the lack of….more space.  The space is situated with a pleasant mountain view and privacy hedges (in between neighbours) and palm trees.  It has all the comforts of home.  I call it my pad-à-terre. I’ve found a very good nail place, hairdresser, tailor, dog groomer, fix-it phone guy, coffee shop and convenience store within short walking distance. You know, the other necessities of life!

outer surroundings

our daily River Walk – only a few short blocks away

The trailer itself is 350 sq. ft. of uncluttered liveable indoor space perfect for two (and a guest on occasion – there’s a pull-out sofabed) and another 400 sq. ft. of outdoor living space which is what I love the most. There are people who live here year round and others (travelers/snowbirds) who keep an RV here full time (because they like their assigned spot and want to secure the space) but only come a few months a year and the others rent space when available for days/weeks/months at a time. Park fees include garbage pick-up, electricity, cable, internet but not gas so we pay for propane. Otherwise, it is fully serviced.

another little outdoor lounge area

This one is going to be kept here year round, whether we come for one month or six.  It’s pretty simple living at it’s best. I have a bike to get around and the river walk a few blocks away to run & walk the dogs.  But I must say that if the weather wasn’t cooperative I’m not sure I could do this full-time.  Let’s just say that sunshine is a requirement for happiness!  All that Vitamin D is healthy for a person!

As it turns out I’ve discovered more about myself.  I like the simplicity of living light and having less stuff.  So maybe as the saying goes “less is more” hence the tiny houses movement right now. This is living large by comparison. Call it country chic, shabby chic or whatever…I find it to be  an excellent alternative to buying an expensive condo in the sun. It’s hassle free and in the worst case scenario if something happens I can…walk away.

It’s a bonus when the dogs match the outdoor carpet

Photos: d. king

Tox-Sick Talk with Suzanne Somers  

Because if you live toxic free you will feel better naturally.

I was thinking about starting a series about women who inspire me and who better to start off with than Suzanne Somers.20170302_144013Suzanne said people magazine once described her as the dumbest woman in America.  Which means she did a great job of playing the blond bombshell bimbo Chrissy Snow in the long running sitcom(edy) “Three’s Company.”

But she had the last laugh because the idiot who wrote that didn’t realize her full potential.  A cancer survivor, she is a well respected health and wellness advocate, a *best selling author having written 25 books (her latest is called Tox-Sick – From Toxic to Not Sick), singer, dancer, Vegas nightclub performer (who was once named Female Entertainer of the Year, the same year Frank Sinatra was named Male Entertainer of the Year, ) and savvy business woman with her suzanne organics skincare & cosmetics line.  It’s a pretty impressive resume.  There’s so much to her, but for now we’ll focus on her pure organic skincare line because I was waiting for something beauty-wise to inspire me for a beauty post – this is it!  And it’s never just about looking good (although we love that); it’s about feeling good from the inside out.  Which by the way, always makes one look better on the outside.

“It’s as if we are all on a big, chemical drunk, and the hangover is a killer.” – Suzanne Somers, in TOX-SICK

20170302_144328So I was thrilled to meet her alongside her handsome hubby Alan Hamel (I do remember well his successful TV talk show in Canada) when she launched her Radiance Facial Kit at Clark’s Nutrition – a fantastic family run natural foods market in Rancho Mirage.  Wait; it’s not just the facial kit she has – it’s a complete line of body care, skincare, sunless tanning, haircare and now cosmetics.  It’s a great line because it’s more than natural and organic…it’s certified ToxicFree.  What that means is a lot of NO’s!  No Pegs, Parabens, chemical emulsifiers, artificial colors, fragrance and of course NO animal testing.  She doesn’t kid around.  She walks/eats/looks the talk!  She even grows her own food.  It’s exhausting to even think about. She really does live toxic-free.  She discussed this along with her belief about a new way to age.  On close inspection I decided if she uses her own stuff (which she completely does) and looks that good I better buy me some.

As you may know I make my own little line of pure products so I’m very picky about what I choose to put on my face + body but I went for the coco mango body butter (a friend of mine swears by it – “it f….ing works!” Also the ageless serum (because it’s loaded with sea algae extract and African Birch) and a lipstick in caramelized peach (because it sounded yummy & looked pretty).  Just so you know.  All made in California.

Suzanne says she’s always loved the idea of pure organic skincare but had never experienced any anti-aging benefits so would end up reverting back to chemically-based products.  Now she has the best of both worlds.  She works closely with the formulators to use the power of nature to find the most effective anti-aging actives for clean, beautiful products to feed, nurture and hydrate precious skin.  It is like superfood for your skin.

OMG I never realized just how much we have in common!  I never even told her that I met her “Three’s Company” co-star John Ritter in Tokyo years ago on a TV series and how nicely he treated me.  But maybe she knows that now.

*On one of her many books about health and nutrition “Breakthrough: Eight Steps to Wellness,”: She scored a big coup with “Sex and the City 2.” Her book is heavily featured in the movie.  Kim Cattrall‘s Samantha–who announces that she’s “fifty-f-ing-two” and going through menopause–declares that she lives by it. She hands it to everyone in the movie. By the end of the movie, women are exchanging copies of “Breakthrough,” with the cover very prominent. A book publisher’s dream.

And if all that isn’t enough, she’s nice too!  An inspiration to all women!

websitehttp://www.suzannesomers.com/

images: d. king

 

Health and Happiness

I’m so happy to be reporting again about happiness and health going hand in hand.  It’s really everything you need to live a good life.  And it’s always timely because…health2

Good health and happiness: to achieve one, you need the other, but bumps along the journey can get in the way of our goals.

“Without good health it’s hard to be happy,” says Michelle W. Book, holistic nutritionist for the Canadian Health Food Association.  “Focusing on a few key pillars can make all the difference.”

Understanding your nutritional needs is for everyone to consider, not only Canadians.

Ideally, we’d all be eating balanced meals rich with nutritious, organic foods.  Reality is, many people often eat convenience foods because of their busy lives or treat “cheat days” too kindly.  As a result, they aren’t getting the necessary nutrients.

Most of us don’t consume enough minerals like magnesium, calcium or potassium, and fail to get enough vitamin D and fibre in their diets.

Strengthen your immune system

Getting sick is the worst.  Sickness motivates an entire pathway inside our bodies that can lead to something called “sickness behaviour.”  This can lead to confusion, lethargy, social withdrawal, anxiety and depression, the result of our immune system cells releasing tiny chemicals, called cytokines, which impact the way our brain sends signals and can slow us down and depress our mood.  Keeping our immune system in good working order can help to reduce the severity and duration of illness.  A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help as taking a good multi-vitamin to fill in the nutritional gaps.

Keep Stress at Bay

Stress increases our need for nutrients.  Heightened stress increases the breakdown of carbohydrates and protein, which rely on Vitamin C and B to be broken down, meaning you use up your store of these nutrients more quickly.  Finding time to eat a healthy, balance diet when you’re stressed can often be difficult.  When dealing with stress, it’s important to ensure your body’s mineral needs are met.  High stress levels deplete the magnesium in the body, which can result in a “downward spiral” in one’s ability to cope with stress.  Mineral supplementation, including magnesium and zinc, may improve psychological measures of anxiety or stress.

Here are a few other foods you may want to consider to improve your immune health:

Nuts: Include nuts in your diet, which provide you with a perfect blend of immune-boosting nutrients, including protein, vitamin E, zinc and selenium. Cashews and pecans in particular are some of the higher nut-based zinc sources, while Brazil nuts are high in selenium.

Kimchi: This fermented cabbage dish from Korea is rich in vitamins C and E, carotenoids, and antioxidant enzymes. It’s also a healthy whole-food source of probiotics, the good gut bacteria that keep your immune system in check.

Garlic: This member of the allium family has been shown to reduce cold symptoms and improve immune cell activity.

Probiotic supplements: Lactobacillus probiotics in particular have been shown to improve the immune systems of both our gut and our entire body.

Mushrooms: Reishi mushroom extracts contain bioactive compounds called “lectins” that increase the activity of our white blood cells.

And Mindfulness is of growing importance:health3

A nasty unexpected virus attacked me while traveling which was of major concern.  I don’t know where it came from and don’t remember ever having taken antibiotics before but I was willing to do whatever it took to get rid of it, or discontinue the trip and go back home. I felt like the worse version of myself. Anyway, the reality is that while it took at least one week to clear up and feel almost back to normal, the worst part lasted for only two days. Not bad considering.  I can only attribute it to an overall healthier way of living.  Granted I did get sick in the first place but I guess it could have lasted a lot longer. I suppose you can call it being more mindful in general. So I’m right on trend.

A growing trend to de-stress is practicing mindfulness. There’s research connecting the benefits of stress reduction through practicing mindfulness with the health of our immune system. Practicing mindfulness has a number of positive impacts on the immune system, including reducing inflammation markers and stress hormones, and has also been shown to increase some immune cells and improve activity in the areas of the brain responsible for coordinating the immune system.

“Mindfulness isn’t difficult, we just need to remember to do it.” ~Sharon Salzberg

Incorporating mindfulness into your lifestyle can actually help to minimize the occurrence, length and severity of the flu or common cold. Some aspects of mindfulness can be simple to include in your everyday routine, such as paying attention to your breathing, tuning into your body’s physical sensations and practicing mindful meditation.healthy1

I like this quote:

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein

Source: Canadian Health Food Association

Healing Black Cumin Seeds

Seeds for the Soul

Flax seeds, Hemp sees, Chia seeds and now…

Among the gifts my sis brought back from her recent trip to Spain & Morocco was a jar of BLACK CUMIN SEEDS ???blackcumin1Their latin name is“Nigella Sativa”. Sis knows that I like anything to do with healing & cooking so I also got saffron, argan oil (which I wrote about on my previous beauty post) and menthol crystals.

Now these cumin seeds look different from the brownish ones I use to make Indian curry.  They’re smaller, rounder and darker.  Never seen them before so had to google. How did we live in the days before google….remember encyclopedia’s? No; me neither! I digress…

You may or may not have heard of Black seed (nigella sativa) before. It goes by many names, including black caraway, Roman coriander, and black cumin, to name a few. But no matter what you call it, these seeds are loaded with health benefits that we are only now beginning to understand. From eliminating harmful bacteria to regenerating the body’s cells and tissues, there is awesome research-backed health benefits of black cumin.

I’ll defer to Nigella Lawson, the British cooking show goddess who preaches the importance of a well-stocked pantry: It appears from a few of her recipes that her pantry includes nigella seeds. But they are not a branded food à la Rachael Ray’s EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil)—the seeds had the name first. In fact, they have a whole bunch of names, some of them misleading: onion seeds, black cumin, charnushka and kalonji, to name a few. Although they resemble onion seeds or black sesame seeds, they are actually the seeds of an annual flowering plant of the Ranunculacae family. Not only is this too much information, we can’t even properly pronounce the name.

The nitty gritty (pardon the pun):

Black seed has been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, Unani, and Arabic medicine. It has minimal (if any) side effects and adds important nutrients to the diet. If utilized as an essential oil or by eating the seeds directly, it is a powerful antioxidant. Black seed was used by Queen Nefertiti in Egypt, and King Tut even kept a bottle of the oil in his tomb for the afterlife. This King will keep a bottle on hand, although kept contained in a jar in her kitchen.blackcumin2

So, what the heck do I do with them?

For starters, toast them lightly to release the essential oils. Then grind them or throw them whole in an Indian dish. Add them to your favorite curried or lentil soup, but they would work in all kinds of South Asian dishes, from simple vegetable curries (like a  Bengali stir-fry or a spiced butternut squash to naan bread). They’re also part of the spice mixture called panch phoran, along with fenugreek, mustard, fennel and cumin seeds, common in Bengali dishes.

Many of black cumin’s traditionally ascribed health benefits have been thoroughly confirmed in the biomedical literature. In fact, since 1964, there have been 656 published,  peer-reviewed studies referencing it.

We have indexed salient research, available to view on GreenMedInfo.com on our Black Seed (Nigella Sativa) page, on well over 40 health conditions that may be benefited from the use of the herb, including over 20 distinct pharmacological actions it expresses, such as:

  • Analgesic (Pain-Killing)
  • Anti-Bacterial
  • Anti-Inflammatory
  • Anti-Ulcer
  • Anti-Cholinergic
  • Anti-Fungal
  • Ant-Hypertensive
  • Antioxidant
  • Antispasmodic
  • Antiviral
  • Bronchodilator
  • Gluconeogenesis Inhibitor (Anti-Diabetic)
  • Hepatoprotective (Liver Protecting)
  • Hypotensive
  • Insulin Sensitizing
  • Interferon Inducer
  • Leukotriene Antagonist
  • Renoprotective (Kidney Protecting)
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha Inhibitor

The above pharmacological actions are only a subset of a far wider number of beneficial properties intrinsic to the black seed. While it is remarkable that this seed has the ability to positively modulate so many different biological pathways, this is actually a rather common occurrence among traditional plant medicines.

Black seed has been researched for very specific health conditions. Some of the most compelling applications include:

  • Type 2 Diabetes: Two grams of black seed a day resulted in reduced fasting glucose, decreased insulin resistance, increased beta-cell function, and reduced glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) in human subjects.
  • Helicobacter Pylori Infection: Black seeds possess clinically useful anti-H. pylori activity, comparable to triple eradication therapy.
  • Epilepsy: Black seeds were traditionally known to have anticonvulsive properties. A 2007 study with epileptic children, whose condition was refractory to conventional drug treatment, found that a water extract significantly reduced seizure activity.
  • High Blood pressure: The daily use of 100 and 200 mg of black seed extract, twice daily, for 2 months, was found to have a blood pressure-lowering effect in patients with mild hypertension.
  • Asthma: Thymoquinone, one of the main active constituents within Nigella sativa (black cumin), is superior to the drug fluticasone in an animal model of asthma.Another study, this time in human subjects, found that boiled water extracts of black seed have relatively potent anti-asthmatic effect on asthmatic airways.
  • Acute tonsillopharyngitis: characterized by tonsil or pharyngeal inflammation (i.e. sore throat), mostly viral in origin, black seed capsules (in combination with Phyllanthus niruri) have been found to significantly alleviate throat pain, and reduce the need for pain-killers, in human subjects.
  • Chemical Weapons Injury: A randomized, placebo-controlled human study of chemical weapons injured patients found that boiled water extracts of black seed reduced respiratory symptoms, chest wheezing, and pulmonary function test values, as well as reduced the need for drug treatment.
  • Colon Cancer: Cell studies have found that black seed extract compares favorably to the chemoagent 5-fluoruracil in the suppression of colon cancer growth, but with a far higher safety profile.Animal research has found that black seed oil has significant inhibitory effects against colon cancer in rats, without observable side effects.
  • MRSA: Black seed has anti-bacterial activity against clinical isolates of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus.
  • Opiate Addiction/Withdrawal: A study on 35 opiate addicts found black seed as an effective therapy in long-term treatment of opioid dependence. Pretty Powerful!  But like anything else, you should consult your doctor before using for medicinal purposes.

Sources: SmithsonianMag.com & greenmedinfo.com

Health: we’ve got you covered

Today I’m off to the Vancouver Health Show

Rainbow of slow-cooked Veggies

Rainbow of slow-cooked Veggies

I’ve always been health conscious but in the past several months even more so.  Not totally hardcore but definitely more mindful of what I cook and how, and cutting out everything that is not good.  I’m actually loving it.  I enjoy cooking in general but now the intent is to make food rich in nutritional value while maintaining overall taste & creativity.

Quinoa Tabouli Salad

Quinoa Tabouli Salad

I’ve taken several cooking classes/demonstrations to see what the nutrition experts recommend as a preventative to getting sick.  Inspire Health offers services to enhance quality of life, health and well-being of people living with cancer and their families.  I am usually the only non-cancerous person in the class, being there as a support. These people are trying to do the best they can through nutrition (as in you are what you eat) to promote longer life and aid in treatment of radiation/chemo by adding flavour and digestible probiotics to delicious, healthy meals.  It can be a challenge but it’s well worth it.  In the following weeks I can share some of the recipes with you.  For now, these posted photos are only of some of what I’ve made.

Chicken Bone Broth with Vegetables

Chicken Bone Broth with Vegetables

Thai Beet Soup

Thai Beet Soup

Lentil Curry

Lentil Curry

Back to the Health Show:

It’s a two day consumer event for the health conscious individual.  It offers a diverse array of options to explore all under one roof for an entire weekend of shopping and education.

A great place to be if you’re looking for the latest products and services on the market, just beginning your journey of achieving a healthier lifestyle or have specific health issues that you need help with.

There are experts on hand to answer your questions to do with anything from nutritional supplements to alternative therapies to fitness trends to food products.

You will meet the people who know what it takes to create a loving home through the discovery of the best new products on the market that will inspire every room in your home to be clean and green, fresh and organized, harmonious and functional.

Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and thinkers.

Where?  The Vancouver Convention Centre – November 5th (10:00am – 6:00pm) + November 6th (11:00am – 5:00pm).

But before I go I’m making a breakfast pizza which looks like this:

Free-range eggs, bacon, Tillamook ex-sharp cheddar, onion + parsley.

Free-range eggs, bacon, Tillamook ex-sharp cheddar, onion + parsley.

Free-range eggs, spinach, mushroom, red pepper, feta.

Free-range eggs, spinach, mushroom, red pepper, feta.

 

 

 

 

Or this:

 

Black Bean Veggie Burger (sans bun) with a delicious Miso Tahini Dressing

Black Bean Veggie Burger (sans bun here) with a delicious Miso Tahini Dressing

Spaghetti with fresh & sundried tomatoes, parmesan & parsley. Secret is in the spices & truffle oil.

Spaghetti with fresh & sundried tomatoes, garlic, parmesan & parsley. Secret is in the herbs,  spices & good Italian truffle oil.

But the 80-20 rule still applies.  The other night I made a restaurant quality AAA rib-eye with thinly sliced baked russet potatoes + beets drizzled with olive oil that came out nice and crispy and kale.  Lots more on my list…..

I’m excited about all the possiblilities.

Life at Large: the HUMAN condition

 Paraphrasing Janis Joplin: Happiness/Freedom are just two words for nothing left to lose.

Last week I watched a gripping, disturbing and captivating docudrama (with lightness at times) which was part of the VIFF screenings on….everyone…everywhere…everyday…appropriately entitled…human1

And guess what?

We’re pretty much all the same in the sense of what we all really long forsimple happiness.

I think that’s what first attracted me to the title of an Italian subtitled film that was on my list to see called “The Complexity Happiness.”  Without knowing a thing about the film I wanted to see it…because happiness is a complex thing and not so simple for many to attain after all, is it?

Because everyone wants something…else. We’re different in the sense of what we own, the clothing on our backs, our environment which of course encompasses our living conditions, language, family and our bank accounts. But other than that we only really want happiness.  And we all know by now that happiness does not come from having more money.  Money minus love equals emptiness.  End of story.  There’s only so much pleasure you can attain by buying more….things.  Having said that, there are more people in the world who have nada, but many are happy with what little they have if they have a strong family connection or for many, faith (in whatever they believe in).  And we would be stupid to assume having no money at all is a good thing even if your family situation is balanced.

Balance in life is important for everyone and how can you be truly happy if you’re always fighting to find a way to feed your family, find a job, look after yourself and those around you?

It’s a BIG WORLD out there and for the most part…it’s out of whack and completely and unfairly UNBALANCED.human2

WHAT I’VE LEARNED FROM THIS POWERFUL FILM overall is… the world we live in can be a pretty sad place!  I mean even checking out what’s going on with the U.S. election campaign…who would have ever thought it would come to this for the most powerful position in one of the most powerful countries?  It’s a bit of a joke like a Jerry Springer gong show. And just before this film I saw “American Honey” which deals with misfit millennials looking to find work and fit into society and have some fun. The list goes on.

So yes, it was depressing to see more than enough faces from all over the world talk about their personal living conditions and socio-economic situation.  It was meant to inform and upset from where we were sitting, in comfortable seats in a warm movie theatre with our popcorn & sodas.  On a more uplifting note, there are some feel-good parts to the film as well. And we find out that some of the monetarily poorest people on the planet are the happiest.

But even happy people are not constantly happy…life gets in the way.  How many people have you heard about in the past couple of years alone who are/were famous with lots of money who died from drug overdose, committed suicide, are or were severely depressed? How many are in rehab?

Maybe the secret to happiness lies in being contented. I think contentment counts for a lot.  It’s a good balance of being mostly happy with a few disruptions along the way.  We are, after all only human.

And unfortunately, unfairness is a way of life…for most.

Human trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-Retnj3TsA

This is my last VIFF review until next year but I want to let you know that my friend Ann Marie Fleming WON for her feature length “Window Horses” – in the best Canadian Film Category. I am so happy for her.  The wonderfully animated movie about poetry has an encouraging message.  I highly recommend seeing it.

We must take happiness in doses…BIG or small!

Health Benefits of Nori

You know…the Seaweed that wraps Sushi

Getty

Getty  (this resembles an ART piece)

although it is also used as a garnish, for flavoring noodle dishes and soups, or as a health supplement. Indeed, as the nutritional value of nori continues to come to light, more and more health food stores worldwide are beginning to sell it in fresh or dried form.

From LiveStrong Website

Photo: LiveStrong Website

List of Health Benefits

And the benefits abound: Seaweed (specifically nori, the kind usually used for seaweed snacks) is a cocktail of nutrients, including high levels of vitamins A and C, and calcium. Vegans can rejoice in the fact that it’s one of the only natural, non-animal sources of vitamin B-12, which is essential for many cognitive and bodily functions. In addition, sea vegetables tout particularly high amounts of iodine, potassium, selenium, iron, and magnesium—unrivaled by land vegetables, as these minerals are especially concentrated in seawater.

Rich in protein – 100 grams of nori contain between 30 and 50 grams of protein, making it one of the plant world’s richest sources of protein and comparable in density to spirulina, chlorella, and soybeans. Protein is needed for building and repairing muscles, building enzymes and antibodies, and cell maintenance and growth.

Lowers cholesterol – According to a study published in the June 2001 edition of the British Journal of Nutrition, when rats that were on an otherwise high-cholesterol diet were fed nori, their LDL cholesterol levels lowered, suggesting that nori plays an important role in stabilizing cholesterol levels. Perhaps this is because nori is surprisingly rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are well-known for reducing LDL cholesterol. They also help lower blood pressure, therefore making nori excellent for the cardiovascular system.

Dietary fiber – Nori is comprised of approximately 33 percent dietary fiber, making it an effective laxative. Also, since high-fiber foods have the ability to make you feel full for longer, nori is also a good weight loss food (a fact that is reinforced by its low calorie and fat content).

Lowers cancer risk – A study published in the May 2010 edition of the British Journal of Nutrition found that the regular consumption of nori was linked to lowered rates of breast cancer for menopausal and pre-menopausal women. This is unsurprising, since nori is rich in antioxidants such as vitamin C that help neutralize the cancer-causing effects of free radicals.

High in iron – 100 grams of nori contain approximately 88 percent of our recommended daily intake of iron, making it an extremely rich source of this much-needed mineral. Furthermore, a Venezuelan study published in 2007 for the Journal of Nutrition showed that nori, unlike many grains and beans, doesn’t contain phytates, which can drastically lower the absorption rate of iron.

Improves bone health – 100 grams of nori contain 280 milligrams of calcium (28 percent of our RDI) and 300 milligrams of magnesium (85 percent of our RDI). While we all know that calcium is good for the bones and is needed to prevent osteoporosis, lesser-known is that fact that we also need magnesium to help absorb it. Since nori contains sizable quantities of both, it is the perfect bone-builder.

Impressive iodine content – Sea vegetables are the plant world’s premier source of iodine, and nori doesn’t disappoint. 100 grams of it contain approximately six milligrams of this extremely important mineral. Indeed, according to the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), one sushi roll wrapped in nori contains 92 micrograms of iodine, which is close to an adult’s RDI of 150 micrograms. Iodine deficiencies are very common in the West and can lead to serious conditions such as goiter and hyperthyroidism.

Aside from the nutrients already mentioned, 100 grams of nori also provide us with vitamin A (288 percent of our RDI), thiamine (60 percent), riboflavin (194 percent), niacin (78 percent), folate (475 percent), as well as impressive levels of phosphorous, potassium, zinc, and vitamins C, E, and K.

Source: Michael Ravensthorpe. He is the creator of the website, Spiritfoods, through which he promotes the world’s healthiest foods.

20160922_210946

I use nori as a topper in a homemade miso soup base.  I start with a soybean paste that is GMO free (getting non-GMO is harder to find these days but if you look hard you’ll find it). Sometimes added chicken stock and then add vegetables (baby bok choy, spinach, broccoli, a little soy, rice noodles, shichimi spice and toasted seaweed.  It is fairly quick, nutritious and delicious.  It sure beats the miso soups you get at any Japanese restaurant.

If you want to know the difference between Kelp and Seaweed:

Seaweed is a very, very broad term that is used to describe the many marine plants and algae that live in the world’s waters. Kelp is actually a subgroup of seaweed and is also the largest form of seaweed. Seaweeds range in size from the microscopic to the massive, while kelp are so large and complex that they form massive underwater forests. You may have seen this marine plant at the beach. Kelp is a type of large brown seaweed that grows in shallow, nutrient-rich saltwater, near coastal fronts around the world. It differs slightly in color, flavor, and nutrient profile from the type you may see in sushi rolls. It contains:

  • iron
  • manganese
  • calcium
  • magnesium
  • copper
  • zinc
  • riboflavin
  • niacin
  • thiamin
  • vitamins A, B-12, B-6, and C

What about too much Iodine?

The key is to get a moderate amount to raise energy levels and brain functioning. It is difficult to get too much iodine in natural kelp but this could be an issue with supplements.

Do you eat Nori or Kelp?

Healthier Pet Inspiration

LOVE is a four legged wordpawsforacause1

Just like us, our pets need and deserve to have a healthy diet too.

So happy to have found out about a convenient and holistic home (or office) pet food delivery service in Vancouver. Jia Jia sampled some of it at the West Vancouver Harmony Arts Festival Market recently.

The Riplee’s Ranchriplee1 premium dog/cat food is produced in a state of the art facility in British Columbia. The local and regionally sourced ingredients are all natural and contain no corn, wheat, soy or by-products.  They are naturally preserved with Rosemary and Vitamin E and C.  They offer a grain free line.  Fast & Fresh. He loves the treats too!riplee2

Visit Website at: www.citypetdelivery.com

This, along with the drops of *Rejeneril I’ve been adding to his food will keep him healthy for hopefully many more years to come.

*To find out more about rejeneril please visit: http://myultimatepet.com/

Cher & Trigger

Cher & Trigger

Yesterday we had a great time at Paws for a Cause, an annual fundraiser for the prevention of animal cruelty put on by the BC SPCA + Scotiabank. Here are some photos I took from the event.

?

Everything went well except for Jia Jia stealing a hot dog from one of the food vendors.  I caught him with half a chewed up dog in his mouth.

?

?

paws1paws4

?

paws9paws10

I fell in love with this tank top

I fell in love with this tank top

An end to a great afternoon

An end to a great afternoon

Do you have a pet food delivery service in your city? 

What kind of food do you prefer to feed your dog?

 

 

Healthier Lifestyle Inspiration

FACT: YOU CAN’T LAUGH & WORRY AT THE SAME TIME!
inspire2

SO LAUGH MORE! Or at least try to.  Watch a comedy, joke around and find humour in even the worst possible situations.   I did that with a friend last week who was going through something horrible.  It was so bad that I could have made it worse by laughing but instead we ended up laughing over how pathetic the situation was. The end result was she was still in pain…but from laughter.

Right now I’m like: “throw me to the wolves and I will return leading the pack.”  That’s a great quote but really….it’s true!  Don’t even stand in my way.  But first I’ll laugh about it all.

Because as hard as we try to make things right and turn things around for the better there’s usually a few setbacks and challenges.  I know this from living in general but especially since I’ve become a support person for someone very close to me.  Someone who is fighting to overcome an illness.  And it’s really difficult to see someone who is strong both physically and mentally go through a very weak phase.  Even though it strikes in a physical sense it still wrecks havoc with your mental state especially if you cannot do the things you’re used to doing.  Gotta stay positive because hope is what keeps everything going. But it can get discouraging and depressing nonetheless – that’s life.

A friend told me about a place called Inspire Health in Vancouver.  They are a team of professionals who help provide knowledge, tools and services to support overall health during and after cancer treatment.  Their doctors value standard cancer treatments, and will work with you, your family doctor and oncologist to provide the best cancer care possible.

They offer options for better health and a better recovery.  What’s to lose right?

Because as their website says: Growing scientific evidence confirms that stress reduction, eating a healthy diet, exercise and a positive support network can substantially improve health and well-being for people living with cancer and their supports.

INSPIRE HEALTH CARE APPROACH IS DIFFERENT – Cancer vs. Person-Based

Cancer-Based: from the perspective of the cancer-based model, the patient rarely plays an active role in their treatment or recovery. Since the focus is on the cancer, little effort is expended to support patients in exploring the benefits of healthful diet, exercise, spirituality and emotional support or other methods to enhance the patient’s well-being. Focusing solely on the cancer can leave patients feeling disempowered and unsure about how to contribute to their own health and well-being.

Person-Based: Although surgery, radiation and chemotherapy can play a very important role in treating the cancer, it is the person and their health – mind, body and spirit – that is the focus of care at Inspire Health.

They have a lot of things to take advantage of that you can pick and choose from like:  Counselling,  Gentle Yoga, Practice Meditation, Tai Chi, Acupuncture, Nutritional Learning and Cooking for Health.

And for me, being so on top of things nutritionally (and otherwise) spent part of the afternoon yesterday taking a cooking class on how to make SuperSnacks.  The head nutritionist demonstrated six different recipes substituting what you would normally use for something healthier but equally tasty.  Now the fun part: you get to test everything.

I have to mention at this point that I had already made half the recipes before (I know but I had to say that anyway) but this was NO cooking class for dummies.  It was interesting, inspiring and I did learn something new.  You always do.  I registered for a bunch more.  I want to hear all they have to say about food and learn more about healthier baking, fermented foods,  their version of bone broth and mindful eating in general.  Knowledge is power.

And THAT is no laughing matter!

YOU define what is important to you by what YOU dedicate your time to.inspire1

*An Important Sidenote: Today Jia Jia (my BFF) & I are off to Paws for a Cause – by BC SPCA to help fund cruelty prevention and education programs, and the enforcement of animal cruelty laws. Cruelty to animals needs to STOP now!

Thoughts?

Feel-good Friday: Change

Welcome September!

september2“The crickets felt it was their duty to warn everybody that summertime cannot last for ever. Even on the most beautiful days in the whole year – the days when summer is changing into autumn – the crickets spread the rumor of sadness and change.”
―E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web  (As a child adult I loved the book & animated movie).   I am proud to say I’ve never killed a spider.

Doesn’t it feel different already?  We’re in that in between stage – not quite summer (even though it is officially still summer) but not quite fall.   Temperature is a bit cooler and it gets darker earlier.  Just giving us a little glimpse of what to Fall for.  I actually don’t mind it as much as I thought.  I’m all for a little change as long as it’s not too too sudden or disturbing.  I’m trying to embrace change.  Not crazy life changing change….just little changes here and there that are healthy and positive.

What I’m Falling For this Year:
september4

For starters exercise and diet – and it’s not even New Year’s Eve!  I’m starting early.  That’s not to say I don’t look after myself  by getting proper exercise (I do) and eating as well as I can but I’m making an effort to do it better and more effectively.  I’m kick starting this because I’m of no use to the important people in my life or anyone else if I’m not in top notch health myself.

I believe in looking after yourself as best you can and keeping your house in order.  Otherwise things can get out of control.

I’m exploring some alternative methods of relaxation like meditation to help improve sleep and anxiety.  I’m looking into acupuncture….just because I believe it can help with a multitude of symptoms.  Not just for myself.

Getting back to reading.  By that I mean….books.  I have too many gathering dust up on the shelf.

Getting rid of excess.  Going through clothing and other items that I no longer have use for.  A few of these are bigger ticket items like condos & cars (possibly).

Dancing for exercise, enjoyment, expression, social and fun.

Language for communication & the mind (it is said to help prevent alzheimers).

Philanthropy because it feels good to help those more “in need”.

I’m researching some things on my own.  I will look forward to sharing them with you in the upcoming months.  I hope to bring more inspiring posts to this page over time.  That is the main purpose of having this blog.  By keeping track of things that inspire, make a difference and improve life mixed in with the usual fashion and fun.

Style is always inspiringseptember1

Only make sure they’re GOOD surprises!