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The answer- YES!
Of course you do!

Maybe you were the kid that LOVED eating their vegetables- or maybe you were the last one at the dinner table picking at them because you hated them. But no matter how you feel about vegetables- you NEED them!

Now, admittedly not all vegetables are as appealing as others- but just because you don’t like 1 or 2, doesn’t mean you can’t LOVE some others!

They come in all shapes, sizes and flavors!
From cherry tomatoes, to cucumber, to eggplant, to potatoes- the variety is just never ending.

Vegetables are a great snack AND meal option. Not only are they super low in calories but they are a quick and natural way to provide us with a variety of essential vitamins and minerals. Vegetables are high in calcium, fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium, vitamin A and C- just to name a few! 

Research consistently shows that people who eat at least 5 servings of vegetables a day have the lowest risk of many fatal health complications.

Let’s take a closer look at some vegetables and the mighty punch they pack

Let’s start with a fan favorite: Carrots

Carrots are tasty no matter how they are consumed. Cooked or raw with some of your favorite dip- they are a versatile and quick way to fill yourself with some key nutrients. One serving of carrots (half a cup) contains up to 73% of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin A (in the form of beta carotene) which is vital for healthy eyesight, and getting enough of this nutrient may help prevent vision loss. Carrots also have an ample amount of antioxidants which promote a healthier heart and can lower the risk of health issues while their Vitamin C content can help boost your immune system.

Spinach- not just for Popeye!

Spinach is another great vegetable that can be consumed raw or cooked. Toss some raw spinach in your salad or add some cooked spinach to your dinner- either way you will be giving your body a surprising amount of nutrition. Just 1 cup of uncooked spinach has 30 milligrams (mg) of calcium, 24 mg of magnesium and 167 mg of potassium.  It also contains vitamin K, fiber, beta carotene, phosphorus, and thiamine- all of which work to provide your body with benefits such as bone health, digestive support and blood sugar management.

It’s a Fruit, it’s a Vegetable- It’s a Tomato!

Yes we know tomatoes are technically a fruit, BUT most people treat them like vegetables and are most often used in veggie dishes. A single tomato can provide about 40% of the daily recommended minimum of vitamin C.

They also contain high amounts of Vitamin A-which supports vision and your immune system. Vitamin K-which is good for your bones, and Potassium- an important nutrient for heart function and maintaining a healthy blood pressure.

Now onto arguably the BEST VEGGIE out there- the potato.

So versatile-mash them, bake them, turn them into french fries- so many options! Not to mention DELICIOUS options. Potatoes contain iron, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and potassium. In fact- a medium 5.3 oz skin on potato has 620 mg of potassium per serving, which is 15% of the daily value and more than a medium-sized banana! They are also a good source of antioxidants- such as flavonoids, carotenoids and phenolic acids. All of which provide your body with fuel it needs to take on the day ahead!

Now knowing these nutritional facts about just 4 different vegetables has to have you somewhat intrigued right? These are 4 tasty- versatile veggies that can be made and consumed in so many yummy ways- and provide your body with ample nutrition.

Try to incorporate a veggie with each meal if you can. Even something small-remember- just because they are small doesn’t mean they aren’t mighty!

Whether we like it or not, for us women- menopause is an inevitable part of the aging process. And there seems to be a lot of negativity surrounding this very natural process.

Granted it does come with some unpleasant symptoms, such as:

  • Reduced Sex Drive
  • Mood Swings
  • Insomnia
  • Hot Flashes
  • Weight Gain etc.
  • Weakened Bones

You may have seen your mother, aunt or other female relative go through menopause and see how it affects them, but what we should focus on is how to embrace this beautiful and natural change our bodies go through.

First, let’s get a better understanding of what menopause is.

Menopause is caused by the change in balance of your body’s sex hormones, which occurs as you get older. It occurs when your ovaries stop producing as much oestrogen and no longer releases an egg each month.

Typically menopause occurs when your menstrual cycle ceases completely (after 12 consequential months). Most commonly, women will begin to experience menopause between ages 40-58, however there are some women who can experience it as early as their 30’s and as late as their 60’s. 

While menopause is a natural and inevitable part of life, that doesn’t mean we have to fear and dread it. EMBRACE it and learn how you will be able to help your body go through this beautiful part of life.

Since we know menopause is looming in our future no matter what we do, there is some peace of mind knowing we can at least strive to reduce symptoms we may experience during this process.

Here are some natural ways to reduce symptoms of menopause:

Maintain a healthy weight
One of the woes that can come with menopause, is weight gain- which is often unwanted. This could be from lack of sleep from menopause, the changes in your hormones, or just simply your lifestyle during menopause (you may feel more sluggish and less mobile). It’s important to maintain a healthy weight to reduce risk of health concerns down the road. A healthy weight will also help with your self esteem and confidence. We all feel better when we feel confident about ourselves. It helps boost our mood and builds up our self esteem.

This is where exercise also comes into play.
Exercise is important for all aspects of life. Exercise helps boost our mood and keep us healthy and active. It can also help reduce symptoms of menopause and make them a bit more tolerable.

Include Foods Rich in Vitamin D and Calcium into Your Diet
Hormonal changes during menopause can cause bones to weaken thus increasing the risk of bone deterioration. Calcium and vitamin D are widely known to benefit bone health, so it makes sense to ensure you are getting enough of them in your diet.

Calcium is most beneficial for strong bones.
Calcium rich foods include:

  • Dairy products like yogurt, milk and cheese
  • Green, leafy vegetables such as kale, collard greens and spinach
  • Tofu
  • Beans

It is also said that sufficient vitamin D intake in postmenopausal women is also associated with a lower risk of hip fractures due to weakened bones. Sunlight is our main source of Vitamin D, but there are other ways we can get Vitamin D. Such as supplementation and foods rich in Vitamin D

Such as:

  • Red meat
  • Oily fish – such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel
  • Egg yolks
  • Fortified foods – such as some fat spreads and breakfast cereals.

Avoid Foods That May Trigger Symptoms
Some women find there are certain foods that can trigger symptoms, such as hot flashes and mood swings.

2 common culprits are caffeine and alcohol. Spicy foods can also increase these symptoms and should be consumed in moderation so as to not worsen your symptoms. 

Drink More Water
Hydration is beneficial in ALL aspects of health.

It is common for women to experience dryness during menopause. The likely cause of this is the estrogen decrease during menopause. Hot flashes and sweating can also lead to dryness and dehydration. Drinking ample water: 8-12 glasses a day will help with this. 

Stick to a Proper Diet
Along with calcium and vitamin d rich foods, it is important to keep a balanced diet and not skip out on a meal. Protein is important during menopause. When estrogen decreases during menopauses, it can decrease muscle mass and bone strength. A proper intake of protein may help prevent this loss and also assist in mood regulation and sleep.

It is also important to avoid a lot of carbs and sugar if you can, as it can cause rises and dips in blood sugar, which can make you feel more tired and irritable. 

You will also want to ensure you stick to a proper meal plan. Irregular eating can cause menopause symptoms to worsen. Having a proper eating schedule will help decrease your symptoms. 

So there you have it. Some easy and natural ways to help you during this milestone of your life. Remember, aging is a beautiful and natural part of life, no matter what can come with it. So embrace your menopause and take control of your symptoms. 



Resources:

https://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/menopause-resource-center/best-exercises/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12540414/

https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/737143_2#:~:text=Due%20to%20a%20decrease%20in,and%20prevent%20and%20treat%20osteoporosis.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21702289/

https://www.henryford.com/blog/2019/03/what-to-eat-or-not-during-menopause

We all feel cluttered from time to time.
Not just our house or environment- but our minds.

When our minds are cluttered, we feel anxious and like our life is in disarray. Basically our minds are just in overdrive when we feel cluttered.

Mental clutter occurs when our mind has too many thoughts, which makes it difficult for us to focus. A cluttered mind can impede with our productivity, balance and even our mental wellbeing. 

When our minds are clear, we feel less on edge, our focus improves, and our overall mental wellbeing improves.

But HOW can we declutter our mind? We know how to declutter our house- but our minds are different.

A few easy tips will help you and your mind on the path to being clutter free!

So let’s get started.

A great first start- is to declutter your physical environment, physical clutter can lead to mental clutter. We stare at piles of clothes in the corner, or a stack of magazines piling up you keep meaning to put away. Even the smallest physical decluttering can go a long way. Take a look around the room you’re in and see what you can tidy or remove.

Next- avoid multitasking. It almost seems impossible- but doing one thing at a time can greatly help you feel more in control. If you are working on a project- focus on just the task at hand. If you are working on something- try to avoid scrolling on your phone or doing 2 things at once. Single task as much as possible. Make a list of things to do if you need to keep track and just cross each one off as you go.

Evaluate and eliminate. Find what is essential in your life, evaluate it. What do you need and what don’t you need? Anything that doesn’t bring you joy- should go. What things in your life are not truly necessary or important to you? Just by simply eliminating as many of these things as possible, you can get unwanted junk off your mind.

Let go of the past- focus on the present only. 
We all do it- dwell on the past and think of ‘WHAT IF’ but this can be brutal on our brains. Let’s face it- what’s done is done. We can’t change the past so we shouldn’t put energy into it or focus on it. Be in the now. Learn from the past and move on. We have all made mistakes or wished we had done a few things differently- but thinking about it and playing the what if game- just leads to an exhausted mind. Focus on here and now.

Write it down. If you feel like you have too much on your brain- or too much floating around, jot it down. Writing things down helps get the ideas out of your head. Keep a journal, write a daily thought you have, anything that can help get the words or ideas in your head- out. Not everything has to be stored in your brain. Jot down anything that comes into your mind that may feel important so you don’t stress about remembering it down the road. 

Learn how to say NO. If you feel overwhelmed and like you have too much on the go, it means you have too much on your plate. Learn to say no when you feel this way- don’t take on more than you can handle. Doing too much at once can just lead to stress. Do only what you can and say no to what you can’t take on. There is always tomorrow!

Make time for you. You are likely busy trying to please everyone and make sure everyone is taken care of- but what about yourself? It is crucial to your overall well being to make sure you are taking care of yourself. Meditate, take a bath, go for a walk, anything that can help relax you and clear your mind for even just 30 minutes a day.

If you feel cluttered and like your brain is in overdrive, try these 7 tips and remove some of that mental clutter. And don’t just do it once, try it weekly if you feel the clutter sneaking back in.

Our minds are crucial to our health- a healthy mind means a healthy life!

Going gluten free or even just wheat and flour free- is a bit of a health craze right now. Whether you are celiac or are just doing it for the health benefits, becoming gluten free comes with a lot of restrictions, but also a lot of potential health benefits.

A few benefits include:

  • Can improve energy levels
  • Works to promote a healthier weight 
  • Decreases bloating
  • Reduces joint pain
  • Can reduce the frequency of headaches
  • Can reduce depression

Even with health benefits like that, there is still negativity and myths that comes with being gluten free or wheat free. One of the biggest myths is- gluten free food is tasteless and bland.

FALSE!

Just because it is gluten free, does not mean it is lacking in being delicious and full of flavor!

There are some absolutely amazing gluten free recipes for all types of foods. Entrees, appetizers and of course, our favorite- dessert!

The next time you feel like baking, try this flourless recipe on for size.
Your taste buds will thank you!

What you will need:

  • 3 cups Powdered Sugar
  • ⅔ cup Cocoa powder
  • 2 to 4 Eggs (egg whites)
  • 1 ½ Chocolate chips (your choice- dark chocolate, bittersweet etc.)
  • ¼ Salt 
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla Extract


How To Make These Mouth Watering Flourless Cookies:

First and foremost, you will need to preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Then, line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper– it is always helpful to give it a quick spray with a non stick spray so the cookies don’t stick on you

Then comes the ingredients.

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar with the cocoa powder and salt.
  • Whisk in the egg whites (start w/ just two) and vanilla extract and beat just until the batter is moistened.
  • Remember these are meant to be a brownie-like, thick and fudgy batter consistency. If it seems too thick, add another egg white– then a 4th one if it still seems too thick.
  • Then gently stir in the chocolate chips.

And last but not least- the baking!

  • Spoon the batter onto the baking sheet in 12 evenly spaced mounds or drops. (keeping mind it is not your traditional cookie dough so it will be thicker)
  • Your bake time will be about 14 minutes, until the tops become glossy and are just ever so slightly cracked
  • You can do a quick toothpick dip in the middle just to make sure the inside has settled
  • Let them cool and do with them as you please! Decorate, ice, freeze them for later, whatever your heart desires.

But most importantly- enjoy!
There you have it!

A flourless- gluten free recipe anyone can enjoy! 

These are uncertain and unprecedented times. Not as many gyms are open, some are at full capacity, or you may just want to stay home as much as you can. Whatever the reason may be-doesn’t mean you have to put a damper in your workout routine.

Even without any equipment, and even if you only have a small space, there are ample at-home workouts and exercises you can do to keep up with your fitness routine and stay active, while of course being in the comfort of your own home!

Take a look around the room you’re currently in. What items do you see?
Many of the items around you can be used to work out and exercise!

No weights to lift? No problem. Find something around 2-5 lbs depending on your comfort level.

Have a bag of potatoes lying around? Boom- there is your weight lifting!

Before lifting anything, make sure you have a proper stance and bend with your knees. You can rotate 10-15 reps between each arm. OR use both arms at once, lifting it like a sack for 20-30 reps (whatever you may feel comfortable with)

Ok so now you have a bag of potatoes for weight lifting, what’s next?

Here are some other At Home Workouts for you to try:

Squats (or Assisted Squats)
This can be done without any equipment, or if needed, you may use something to help keep you upright (something sturdy to hold on to)

Bending down while keeping your back upright, arms out in front of you, down and up.
25 reps.

Bicycles
Use a yoga mat or soft surface below you: Lie on your back feet in the air and your knees bent. Make the motion of riding a bicycle. 
10 reps.

Push-ups.
Again you will want a mat or soft surface. This workout can even help strengthen your lower back. 10 reps. 

Walking lunges.
Ensure you have ample space around you to lunge. Do 10 for each leg. 

Jumping Jacks
These are simple enough, most of us have done jumping jacks in our childhood- plus they can be fun when you have the right music pumping!
30 reps.

Crunches or Sit Ups.
These are great for your stomach. Just 30 reps a day will work to help strengthen your upper body core. 

Walk.
This will allow you to get some fresh air while getting exercise. Walk your dog or just go solo with some nice music pumping into your ears. Walking 30 minutes a day is great for your overall health.

You can also follow a work out video from youtube or other media platforms.

Have a baby or toddler? Think of ways to incorporate taking care of them into your fitness routine. There is even a thing called Mommy Yoga!

Try this technique below:

  • Sit down on your mat facing your seated baby, supporting them by holding their hands (or wrapping your hands around the upper body  working on sitting up).
  • Bend your knees and bring your heels together as close to your pelvis as you can, opening your knees out to the sides. Position your baby’s heels together- mirroring your position
  • Continue to hold on to your baby as you shift your upper body from left to right and back and forward, moving together.
  • You can hold this pose as long as you’d like, but for your baby 5 of your inhales/exhales should be a good count, which of course you may need to adjust depending on how well your baby takes to it!

Now, all that being said, there are always some things to keep in mind when working out, home or at the gym. Especially if you are new to a fitness regime. 

  • Start slowly and build up gradually. Make sure you give yourself plenty of warm up time with some stretching. 
  • Break things up if you have to-don’t overdo yourself all at once. Split up the workouts throughout the day or into sections if needed.
  • Stay hydrated. It is crucial to keep hydrated when working out, the more you sweat- the more you will need to hydrate. 
  • Listen to your body- if a certain workout or exercise is causing pain or discomfort, move on. Try something else or take a break. 

Staying home doesn’t mean you have to give up on your goals- these workouts from home will keep you on track- all from the comfort of your living room!

And always remember to stay hydrated and only do what you can. You may want to push yourself but if your body is telling you no, then slow down and take a rest- there is always tomorrow 🙂



Resources:

https://www.whattoexpect.com/first-year/mommy-and-me-yoga

Winter can be a magical time. Hot cocoa, snowy nights, sitting by the fireplace, Christmas lights- truly the season to be merry! But it can also have its downsides. Cold weather, lack of sun and shorter days, all of which can have an impact on our mental health. Your mental health plays an important role in your overall health. When you feel depressed, it can also make your physical health decline. 

Many of us get depressed or down this time of year. The dreaded winter blues. And there is a reason for that.

It’s called SAD. 
Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD, is a type of depression that occurs during the same season each year, usually in the fall or winter time. It is very common and should also be taken very seriously, as any form of depression should.

Seasonal affective disorder, often also referred to as the winter blues, is estimated to affect around 10 million Americans each year, while also being four times more common in women than in men. And most commonly occurring to those between the ages of 18 and 30. It is also much more common in those living farther north, where there are shorter daylight hours in the winter. Those living in Alaska may be more likely to develop SAD than people living in Florida. 

If you are experiencing SAD, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Less energy
  • Trouble concentrating 
  • Fatigue
  • Increase appetite
  • Wanting to be alone
  • Feeling more tired- craving more sleep than usual
  • Weight gain

The main culprit of both the winter blues and SAD is the lower levels of natural sunlight we are exposed to in the fall and winter months. Less natural light can cause a dip in serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, disruptions in circadian rhythms (your body’s internal clock), which help control sleep-wake cycles, as well as alterations in melatonin, a hormone associated with both mood and sleep.

It is crucial not to ignore any symptoms of SAD as well as any depression. Ignoring the symptoms will just worsen how you feel and bring you deeper into your depression. It is important to speak to your doctor if you experience any symptoms to see what treatment options may be best for you.

You may not need medication. There are natural ways to help combat seasonal depression. Finding one that works best for you will help you on the path to recovery and will help you plan for when depression strikes.

Some more natural ways to help your seasonal depression:

  • Light therapy: This is one of the most standard treatments for sufferers of SAD as light therapy actually replicates natural light with light boxes, which use white fluorescent bulbs to mimic sunlight. Light therapy can be particularly helpful in regulating the release of melatonin, which increases when the sun goes down.
  • Natural Sunlight:  We all feel better when the sun is shining. But in the winter, there are less sunny days, so it is important to get outside and take advantage of the sunshine as much as you can on the darker days. Take a walk and see the beauty winter has to offer, play with your kids in the snow or even try an outdoor winter activity like ice skating at your local ice rink. Exposing yourself to natural light can assist in boosting serotonin production in your body and improve your overall mood.
  • Exercise: It is well known that there is a strong exercise-mental health connection, especially  for those with depression and anxiety, so it makes sense that exercise is known as nature’s antidepressant. Exercise can increase serotonin and endorphins, which both affect mood. Even just 30 minutes each day can you a huge boost in your mood.
  • Vitamin D Supplementation (aka the sunshine vitamin). Vitamin D deficiency affects almost 50% of the population worldwide. An estimated 1 billion people worldwide suffer from  a vitamin D deficiency. Low levels of vitamin D is widely associated with depression. It is also sad that a  decrease in vitamin D production caused by reduced sunlight during the winter months may be a factor in seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

There are also lifestyle changes you can make to help you, just like any form of depression. Taking care of yourself is key to your mental health. Lifestyle changes will help guide you on your path to a more positive mindset.

  • Set a sleep pattern for yourself- try to sleep and wake up at the same time every day to help normalize your circadian rhythms.
  • Try to structure your eating patterns by eating three meals a day, around the same time every day if you can (this may vary on your routine and job type). Keep a balanced diet and try to avoid consuming too many carbs, such as starchy or sweet foods. Eat a balanced diet of proteins, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains.  Also try to incorporate foods that can help with depression. Specifically foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids such as: fatty fish (anchovy, mackerel, salmon, sardines and tuna) flaxseed, canola and soybean oils, nuts, especially walnuts and dark green, leafy vegetables.
  • Make and KEEP- plans with friends and families to help you stay connected to your loved ones. Even if you make plans when you were in a better mood- then when the time comes to spend time with them- you don’t feel like it, try and make yourself. Engagement is important. 
  • Take time for yourself and engage in activities you enjoy. Even if it is just a relaxing soak in the tub, or curling up with a good book.
  • Stay positive- whenever you feel negative thoughts- think of something to counteract it. If you start feeling down on yourself, start a list of things you love about yourself. Don’t get down on yourself.

Don’t let winter dictate your happiness. Remember, feeling sad this time of year is normal. And you are not alone. Enjoy your winter, sadness free!




Resources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22629085/

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/seasonal-affective-disorder/index.shtml

We have all had a headache at least once in our lives.
And if you have, you know they are not fun.
In fact, they can be absolutely unbearable for some.

Of course there are ample products out there designed to help headaches and the symptoms that come with them. But many are full of ingredients that can be very harmful to us. And long term use can be damaging to us.

Some negative effects of taking NSAIDS for pain (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are gastrointestinal issues, allergic reactions, bloating, gas, kidney or liver issues, high blood pressure, and ulcers.  Now why would we pump our bodies full of something that could cause such terrible reactions?

We want relief, but there is a better way. More natural ways. And even better- they can be done at home with everything you need at your disposal.

Here are 10 ways to get rid of that pesky headache at home today!

1. Water
Hydration, hydration, hydration! Water is a key element to many ailments, especially headaches. If we are not getting enough water throughout the day, our bodies become dehydrated and we can get headaches, become irritable and even have trouble concentrating.

If you feel a headache coming on, you may just need some water. Some find drinking a glass of water (at least 8 ounces) will help their headaches within an hour’s time, faster than most NSAIDS.

A great idea to start your day is even drinking a glass of water once you wake up. This will get your day off on a good foot by immediately hydrating yourself. Bottoms up!

2. Caffeine- friend or foe?
Caffeine is known to assist with our moods and energy levels, and can even help us with a headache. You may be thinking that seems crazy that caffeine of all things could help with a headache, but it’s true! constricts blood vessels which can have a positive effect on headache symptoms.

BUT that being said, caffeine withdrawal has also been shown to cause headaches if a person regularly consumes large amounts of caffeine and suddenly stops, so caffeine should always be consumed with that in mind as it can affect people differently depending on their regularity of consumption.

3. Cold Compress
Applying a cold compress or cold cloth to your head may help reduce inflammation and is said to help slow nerve conduction and also helps to constrict blood vessels. Lying down with an ice pack or cold cloth over your eyes is a great and effective way to reduce your headache ailment- while also relaxing. Win win!

4. Try Yoga or Other Exercises
Yoga is known to be a wonderful stress reliever. It can also improve flexibility, build muscle, promote higher energy levels and decrease pain. Feeling more relaxed and stress free is a great way to help prevent a headache.

Regular exercise is crucial for our overall health. Physical activity has always been a well known treatment for headaches. Keep your body in motion!

5. Ginger Tea
Ginger has been used for centuries for many wellness benefits, such as headaches and migraines.

A common symptom that comes with headaches and migraines, is nausea, which ginger is widely used to target. Ginger contains many elements that have been known to have anti-inflammatory properties which can help reduce headache pains.

It can be taken in many forms but the best and most soothing option for a headache, would be sipping on a nice hot cup of ginger tea.

6. Limit Alcohol Consumption
We all want to unwind after a hard day, or celebrate on the weekend. But limiting alcohol consumption can be key to preventing a headache.

Many find that too much alcohol can cause a headache. Especially if you had a little too much the night before, the next morning may make you feel a little rough. If you are prone to headaches, making sure you are consuming little amounts of alcohol at a time will help prevent that headache from sneaking in. 

7. Get A Proper Night’s Sleep
We need sleep to function at our best.

Getting a proper night’s sleep will help prevent headaches and keep your body performing at its best. When we don’t get enough sleep, we feel drained. Lack of sleep affects us in many ways, from low energy to physical symptoms such as headaches.

Ensuring we are getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night will help keep our body feeling rested and prepared to take on the next day. It will keep our bodies and mind feeling reenergized. 

8. Turn Down The Lights
When you have a headache, you become very sensitive to light. Keeping light dim and even reducing the light on your computer will help with that sensitivity. Many sufferers from a headache need to use a blue light filter on their computer so a headache doesn’t plague them when they are working.

If you feel a headache coming on, turn down the lights and let your eyes rest. 

9. Acupressure 
Applying pressure to your head is a great way to relieve a headache or migraine as it helps ease our tension and relaxes our muscles.

Using your index and middle  fingers, apply pressure to your temple, back of the neck and even between the eyes, while applying a slow circling motion. These are key pressure points where we most often feel tension. You can do this in 10-20 second intervals and repeat until you start to feel the tension release. 

10. De-Stress (meditation)
Meditation is widely used for de-stressing calming the nerves, much like yoga. However meditation allows you to sit in one spot and just focus on yourself. 30 minutes of meditation can help your body relax and melt away any tension.

The American Migraine Foundation states that meditation may actually work to inhibit the part of the nervous system responsible for stress. Frequent migraine attacks can be triggered by or aggravated by stress, tension, and anxiety, and mind-body techniques like meditation may relieve headaches by alleviating underlying stress.

There you have it.

10 simple, effective and drug free ways you can help your headache all while in the comfort of your own home.

Say goodbye to those pain meds and try one of these today. You have nothing to lose, except for the pain!





Resources:

https://www.webmd.com/arthritis/features/pain-relief-how-nsaids-work

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5655397/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3727573/

https://migraine.com/migraine-treatment/natural-remedies/ginger-for-migraine-headaches/

https://www.healthline.com/health/pressure-points-for-headaches#How-to-use-pressure-points-to-relieve-headaches

It’s almost the holidays, which for many means a family feast.
Big meals followed by tasty desserts! But for those that are vegetarian or gluten free, sometimes options can be limited, especially if you are the only one in the family following that diet.

But just because you’re vegetarian or gluten free, doesn’t mean you should miss out on the yummy desserts the holidays have to offer!

A holiday staple in many homes is Pumpkin Pie.

BUT not to worry! There are ways to make this delicious holiday pie suitable for any diet restriction!

Besides, what would this time of year be without Pumpkin Pie? Now you can make a Pumpkin Pie your whole family can enjoy!


So let’s get started.

First, here is a list of the ingredients you will need. And of course, feel free to substitute whenever you wish to.

Let’s start with the Pie Crustnow you can also buy a crust at any supermarket but you will just need to watch the ingredients to find a gluten free one. So we always recommend one from scratch to ensure it is fully gluten free!

  • 1 ¼  cups gluten free flour
  • 2 tablespoon cane sugar
  • ¼  teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons butter (can also use a dairy free butter if you wish to make it vegan!)
  • 4 tablespoons ice-cold water
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar

Pumpkin Pie Filling

  • 2 ¼  cups pure pumpkin purée (get creative and mash your own, or buy any supermarket version in a can)
  • ¾  cup full-fat coconut milk
  • ½  cup cane sugar
  • ¼  cup pure maple syrup
  • ¼  cup cornstarch or tapioca starch
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ½  teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½  teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼  teaspoon ground nutmeg

Now this part is optional: Whipped Topping for Serving- Non Dairy options available as well if making it Vegan dessert.

Now onto the preparing and the best part- the baking!

Instructions:

  • Sift together flour blend, sugar and salt. Add butter. Using a pastry cutter, combine ingredients and butter pieces (ensuring they are less than pea-size)
  • Pour in the cold water and vinegar. Continue to blend until dough comes together- add an additional tbsp of water if required.
  • Pat dough into a round disc or pan, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for an hour or until you are ready to bake.
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch pie pan with cooking spray.
  • Place your dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap and then top it with another piece of plastic wrap. Roll the dough out into a 13-inch round with a rolling pin.
  • Remove the plastic wrap from top and place the pie pan upside-down onto the dough. Carefully flip the pie pan, along with the dough. Remove the remaining piece of plastic wrap and press the dough into the pie pan, press together any cracks and crimp edges (feel free to add a design or make it as fancy as you want!)
  • To make the pie filling, add all pumpkin pie filling ingredients to a blender. Blend it on medium-high until smooth and well blended-approx 1 minute.
  • Pour filling into the pie crust. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until the center is just about set Note: it will set completely as it cools. Allow pie to cool on a cooling rack for 1 hour.
  • Place pie in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight, to chill completely. To serve, slice and top with whipped topping, and of course- ENJOY!

Pets are wonderful. They help remind us that we are not alone. They are the best companions. They love unconditionally and without judgement.

If you have ever had the privilege of owning a pet, you likely already know how great they are for the soul. When we feel alone, they are there. Loving us. Whether it be a dog, cat or even just a bunny, they give us a purpose.

Without even the need to speak words, pets connect with us in a way we cannot with other humans. Pets are incredibly perceptive and can actually sense when we are distressed.

You come home from a long day at work, stressed to the max and just completely overwhelmed. You walk through the door and the first thing you see is a smiling face and wagging tail. Your dog is there waiting for you. They waited all day for you. Your existence is their whole day.

A Friend When We Need One

It’s no surprise they use dogs for personal support pets at hospitals and care facilities. They offer such wonderful companionship.  Companionship can help prevent illness and is said to even add years to your life. Caring for your pet can help make you feel needed and wanted, and take the focus away from your worries, especially if you live alone. Most dog and cat owners talk to their pets, they listen without judgement and it helps us to just vent knowing that.

Pets give us a sense of calming, they have a wonderful relaxing effect on us. A simple petting or stroke of a pet can help improve our mood and bring a smile to our face.


They Get Us Out Of Bed

Not only can they improve our mood, but they can also improve our physical health.

Dogs for instance, they need a lot of potty breaks.

Depression can tend to keep us indoors and hiding from the world, but when we own a dog, it is our responsibility to take them out. On days where we may not even want to get out of bed, dogs give us that ambition because we know they need to go out. It helps us get out of the house on days where we may not want to, and avoids keeping us in isolation, where our depression or mood may worsen.

It is also a great opportunity to be active and enjoy the outdoors while spending time with your pet.

Going for walks, going to the park, even going for runs if your dog is up for it!
Dogs need to be active, and if we are active with them, we are both getting the physical activity we need to stay healthy.

They Keep Us Social

Pets can be a great social ice breaker, especially for people that are usually a bit introverted. Take dog parks and dog owners for examples, dog owners can chat about their dogs and even help us make new friends, while our furry ones make new friends too.

There are also support groups and clubs pet owners can join to discuss breeds, health issues or share funny videos and photos of pets. This helps us interact on a level we may not normally feel comfortable with in our normal everyday life.

They Give Us A Sense Of Purpose

Many pets, especially dogs, must have a regular feeding schedule and an exercise routine as well. Having this type of consistency in our lives will give it more structure and help us feel like our day has a purpose, even if the day just consists of looking after them.  A consistent routine not only helps you maintain balance, but it also helps your pet as well.

We all have days where we may feel like life is meaningless, but having a pet give us a purpose. They make us seize the day because they are counting on us. So when you feel like nothing matters and no one needs you, look into their eyes and you will see nothing but love and adoration.

They Reduce Anxiety


Pets can greatly help us with our anxiety. Simple strokes of your pet can give you a sense of relief and calming. There is nothing quite like curling up with a purring cat or tail wagging dog and just spending time cuddling.

Even fish can reduce our anxiety and stress. Staring into a fish tank can be mesmerizing and many find watching the fish swim to be incredibly calming. It can give us a sense of relief as we watch the graceful movements of them swim around.

Pets don’t need to have fur to make us feel better. It could be a bird that you talk to or connect with, a lizard, fish, you name it. Pets come in all shapes and sizes. 

They are only with us for a short time, but to them, it is a lifetime.

Resources:

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-health/mood-boosting-power-of-dogs.htm


The world we are living in can be a stressful one, and for many of us, the worries of everyday life can weigh us down. We worry about our health, money, our family, job security- not to mention the world around us and all that is happening on a daily basis.

Stress takes its toll on our bodies and mind. Not only do we feel mentally drained and unmotivated, but it can also affect our sleep, memory and overall quality of life. Stress can also increase risk of health problems and promote severe weight gain/loss. If acute stress is repeatedly experienced, or if stress becomes chronic-it can cause damage to blood vessels and arteries which increases the risk of heart issues..

So with all the worries you take on, how can you calm yourself down?

There are ways to manage and lower your stress. It can take some leg work and practice, but the reward will surely be worth it.

Exercise

Our bodies need exercise, it is one of the most important things you can do to help combat stress. Seems odd doesn’t it? When we’re stressed, the last thing we may want is to go exercise, many of us just want to sit down and try to relax, but the truth is exercise actually releases endorphins, which are chemicals that improve your mood. Exercise also lowers your body’s stress hormones.

Working out and exercising may also help your quality of sleep as well.


Meditation

You may be thinking this is cliche, but meditation is actually a great way to escape your own mind and find peace. Here are some meditation steps you can follow to calm your body and mind.

  • Find a quiet space where you feel safe and at ease. 
  • Breathe deeply and slowly. Allow your mind to focus solely on your breathing.
  • Mentally calm your body, be aware of any tension in your muscles, places of comfort or discomfort, the feel of the floor beneath your feet. Begin to pay attention to the natural rhythm of your breathing.
  • Repeat a mantra. This can be anything you find that is tailored to you. It can be of a religious aspect or some small phrase you find soothing. It could be as simple as “Just let it go”
  • Don’t let your mind wander. It’s inevitable for your mind to wander, so try to bring it back by focusing on your breathing and focusing on the sounds around you.


Healthy Diet

We all know eating healthy is crucial for our overall health and wellness but some foods actually have the ability to boost serotonin and affect our mood. Eating processed food, foods high in refined sugar and fried foods can actually worsen stress and mental fatigue stripping you of nutrients. 
A healthy diet will not only keep your stress levels down and mind healthy, but your body will also thank you. 


Take Time For You

Your time is important. We all need self love. A bubble bath, shopping trip, manicure, relaxing walk through the park, movie night alone in bed, whatever you desire! Life is busy, but taking time for ourselves is also a priority. Sometimes we just need a little bit of alone time to do something for us. It is a great way to rejuvenate the soul and even self reflect. 


Deep Breathing

If you find yourself in a partially stressful situation, deep breathing works wonders. Take a minute to focus on deep breaths. In and out. Close your eyes and focus on just the inhale and exhale of your chest. Clear your mind and listen to your breathing. Repeat this as often as necessary throughout the day or during any stressful moments.

Don’t Isolate Yourself

Alone time is always crucial, but when we are feeling stressed or worried, surrounding ourselves with those we love, is great medicine. Making time to sit down with a friend or family is a great way to unwind. Laughing, sharing memories or just talking about everyday life helps keep our mind distracted and also reminds us of the good times.

Incorporate Supplements

We try to eat a healthy diet but sometimes we are lacking certain vitamins. And sometimes the vitamins we are lacking, are actually ones that can help keep our stress levels in balance.

For example:

Magnesium: 
Magnesium is an important nutrient for the brain and body. Magnesium also plays an essential role in your body’s response to stress. When we feel stressed, our body actually ramps up magnesium excretion.

Magnesium also increases GABA (a neurotransmitter that blocks impulses between nerve cells in the brain)-which encourages relaxation as well as sleep. Low GABA levels can make it difficult for us to relax. So it makes sense that our levels need to be high in order for us to feel more relaxed.

Keeping our magnesium levels up will keep our magnesium stored for when our stress depletes us.

Calming down is easier than you might think. It just takes some leg work and some practice. It won’t happen overnight but these tips can help get you on your way to feeling more like yourself and lifting some of that heavy stress off your shoulders.


Find more great supplements here and save up to 25% off! 


References:

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/6-foods-that-reduce-anxiety#TOC_TITLE_HDR_8