Probiotics – What’s the Deal?

You ARe whatAs of late I have been asked several times why someone would even bother taking a probiotic and what the benefits could possibly be.  After explaining it for the 3rd time in just a handful of days I figured it might be worth wild to explore the benefits of probiotics in a blog post.

Just starting it is important to understand that our bodies are full of various different forms/strains of bacteria at any given point.  We often plug these guys into two categories “good” and “bad” bacteria.  Our body’s goal is to achieve and maintain balance or homeostasis, so too much of one or the other can trigger our bodies to go into action and to attempt to start balancing things out.   The problem is with all the “food” (processed, chemically latent, chemically preserved items) we have at our finger tips we tend to have more of the bad stuff than the good.  Another way we can throw this delicate balance for a loop is the use of good ol’ antibiotics, antibiotics are non-discriminatory meaning that they wipe it all out not just the bad stuff.

So what is up with probiotics?

1. Absorption: probiotics can assist in the body’s absorption of nutrients (vitamins and minerals).  There are some vitamins (such as the Bs) that are made in our intestines.  A healthy balances of intestinal bacteria (good and bad) is what helps our body’s do this optimally.

2. Immunity: balance is always key. There is a pretty strong relationship between what is happening in your gut and how capable your immune system is.  If your breakdown and absorption of food is compromised, plus your intestinal ecology is all out of wack your body will have a hard time supporting your immune system.

3. Lady Health:  having unbalanced intestinal flora can lead to infections, and for us ladies yeast infections and urinary tract infections can be an issue when an imbalance is present. Probiotics can be used orally or vaginally to help bring balance back to the body and ward off infections of this type in the future.

4. Digestion: these little bacteria guys do wonders in breaking down food. If you are often finding yourself feeling bloated, gassy, etc.  Maybe try introducing some probiotics to your life to assist in the break down of food. Some studies have even shown that the use of probiotics might help to increase tolerance to dairy.

5. It doesn’t have to be a supplement. Probiotics are living organisms that get this don’t have to come in a pill! Sure a supplement will give you that boost you might be looking for, but having foods such as Kefir, Kimchi, Komboucha (lots of Ks!), Sauerkraut, etc in your diet might just give your body the sustainability it needs to stay healthy and operate optimally.

So basically probiotics can be a great addition to an already healthy supportive diet.  There are many different strands and varieties out there, and variety is the spice of life, so maybe go get yourself a kombucha or load up on some delicious organic sauerkraut and see what a properly balanced belly feels like for you.

Are you still interested?  If so check out some of these articles:

Harvard Health
Berkley Wellness
Huffington Post

 

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Getting Ready for Success

This summer has turned into a bit of a write off.  Yoga challenge and half marathon training aside I have allowed myself to indulge maybe a bit too much.

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I normally fluctuate a couple of pounds depending on the time of month, the time of day, how much water I have had, etc.  But this summer one too many pizzas or BBQ style foods has made its way into my body.

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Seeing how my foot is out of commission and I recently did a number on my wrist I am limited in what I can do physically right now.  So in order to get myself back on track I have contacted some friends that are also fans of fitness for some tips and tricks on how to stay active and I have piggy backed on my girlfriend’s 3 day juice cleanse.

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After doing some research I am actually starting to get excited about this little nutrition restart and cleanse.  So this week I have started to charge up my diet with my veggies and salads in order to get my digestive system ready for 3 days worth of liquid nutrients.

I hope to share my juicing recipes with you after the fact to be sure that they are not only nutritious but also tasty.

So here’s to leaving the past behind me and moving forward and getting back on track when it comes to health and fitness. Sometimes it takes step backs like this to remind yourself of your priorities and your goals. So instead of sitting here and dwelling on what I have done wrong I have decided to start taking the appropriate steps to move forward and get back to a more positive healthy place.

Happy Wednesday everyone.

Back Again – Recap

I have been dormant for a while and for that I apologize but I am back and trying to get back into the swing of blogging. The school year had been coming to a close which meant lots of reading and writing and studying. Now after a week of recovery and relaxation I am back to give you all a fun recap of the past little while.

20140716-080301-28981438.jpgBack in March I started school again, heading back with the goal of becoming a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, since finishing my university degree years ago, heading back to school has been an interesting experience. I forgot just how exhausting using your brain on a regular basis could be, the program I am enrolled in is also a one year intensive so it is exactly that, intense.  But enough about school. I don’t have to think about that for another 10 weeks or so.

What have I been up to.  Well quite honestly school has taken up about 80% of my time, but in the mist of all that craziness I have managed to complete the 101 day Digestive Detox I started in the spring and I just wrapped up a 30 day yoga challenge with my yoga studio, so I thought figure I would do a little recap, and then I am hoping to start bringing you delicious recipes and fun workouts again really soon.

So the 101 days of clean eating is over and thank goodness.  It was great to know that I was able to remain 100% committed for the majority of the experiment, however it is even more fantastic to know that it is over!  I have discovered that I have a pretty good 80/20 balance and I am keen on committing to that.  I found that the full on 100% clean eating, no drinking etc. was a little too extreme and made me dig my heels in at some points.  But it is always great to push your boundaries to get to places that make you feel a little uncomfortable.  Now it is over and I am back to a nice balanced diet of healthy, live, fresh foods with the occasional glass of wine while sitting on my patio.

20140716-080301-28981108.jpgThe clean eating challenge wasn’t the only thing I was challenging myself with this spring, I also signed up for a 30 day detox yoga challenge.   Now this was an incredible experience.  After returning from my yoga teacher training in Costa Rica and enrolling in school I was finding it challenging to attend more than one or two yoga classes a week.  I realized that I wasn’t committing to myself, my personal development and my practice.   The 30 day challenge really helped me to refocus and to make my practice a priority.

20140716-080300-28980516.jpgMaking my own yoga practice a priority allowed me to be more creative with the classes I was creating for others and helped me to find a little clarity in the midst of school, training, half marathon training, my part-time jobs, family and friends.   This challenge also provided me a way to start becoming a part of the yoga community.   The studio I frequent here in Ottawa has a great yoga community but I always felt like I was in a rush so I never took the time to say hello and speak with others.  This challenge showed me that I have the time to say hello and make new friends.  I strongly recommend if your local yoga studio does a challenge like this you make the commitment to yourself and try it out.

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Now that all of the challenges are over I am settling back into my regular gym, running and yoga routine and enjoying the outdoors as much as possible.   I have also started teaching my first outdoor fitness class and it has to date been a complete blast!

All in all I am happy to say it is officially summer for me. I get some time to relax and rest before school starts up again in September, I get to do some yoga outside on Parliament hill and in my yoga studio and I have a half marathon to look forward to in August.  In the mean time I am going to be spending time catching up on my personal reading and spending time in the sun.

20140716-080301-28981809.jpgHappy Humpday everyone!

Question:  What types of recipes and workouts would you like to see in the future?

Weekend Round Up

This weekend started out with one of the longest sleeps of my life. After not having the greatest sleep Thursday evening I was ready to come home from work and just crash. After attempting to get in a full workout at the gym Friday evening I came home took a wonderfully relaxing and detoxifying Epsom salt bath and packed it in all before the sun went down.

I woke up Saturday feeling refreshed and ready for the day. My morning was filled with yoga plan revision and heading to the gym bright and early to get warmed up. I taught a super relaxing and rejuvenating restorative yoga class and then headed home to cram in some school work before heading out again to teach my regularly scheduled Rock N’ Roll yoga class that afternoon.
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After all the yoga teaching was done for the day it was time to get ready for the evening. I was having some ladies over for a nice evening in. We played some Just Dance on the wii and got the opportunity to chat and catch up. For the evening I made some sweet potato kale bites which were pretty tasty and everyone else pitched in and brought other tasty snacks to share with the group. It was great getting everyone together to say hello, between kids, work and other life commitments it can be challenging to get everyone in a room together.

Sunday was much more relaxed with some more school work, food prep and watching some bad TV on Netflix it was a nice and relaxing afternoon.

Now it is Monday and my school/work week has started up again. I am excited to dive into my new course and learn more about healthy lifelong diet planning.

I hope you all had wonderful weekends and that your Monday is a great start to this week ahead
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Weekend Round Up – more Birthdays

This weekend was my first weekend in the new studio for Rock n’ Roll yoga. It is funny how something as small as a change in venue can have your nerves firing off as though you are teaching your first class.

Nerves aside the class was great. The space at Studio X was amazing, bright, cozy and clean. All the wonderful students who came to the first class were impressed and pleased with the new digs, so before class even started we were all starting off on the right foot.

After class Saturday afternoon it was back home to get ready for the final stages of a friend’s birthday surprise. We had informed her that we would hang out but she had no idea we would be surprising her.

Her fiancé did an amazing job of being sneaky and getting her out of the house for an hour so we would have enough time to decorate and prepare a bunch of her favorite foods

20140303-095350.jpgWhen she came in she totally didn’t suspect a thing. But once she saw us she was completely surprised! After attempting to run away from the surprise it all sunk in and she was excited to be hanging out with a small group of friends while snacking on some of her favour it foods.20140303-095402.jpgAfter a great night Saturday I was up early Sunday morning to tidy up a little and then had a nice relaxing day filled with my right now fav TV show Burn Notice and lots of snuggling with my kittens.

Now it is Monday and my first day of school. I am definitely excited to start learning and relearning how to take notes and pay attention for more than an hour at a time.

20140303-100233.jpgI hope everyone had a happy Monday.

Fall into Good Habits

The season of short shorts, sundresses and bathing suits might be coming to an end but that doesn’t mean we should stop challenging ourselves to achieve our health and fitness goals. With the weather cooling off and because of several requests from readers, I thought it might be a good idea to try another clean eating challenge and to focus a bit more on food prep this time around. Let’s call it Clean Eating V.2.0.

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Seeing that I have outlined the rules and regulations of the clean eating challenge in the past I am not going to go over them all again, so please for more information click back to check them out in more detail and of course if you have any questions please let me know.

_DSC0141As mentioned above I am going to try and have more of a focus on food prep, different tips and hints to staying on track and ideas on how to clean up what you are eating. I will do my best to document my food prep and what I do to make my week easier and more manageable for me.

With the summer months over and all of the patio hoping, fun nights out, s’mores during your camping trips and various other delicious indulgences that come with the summer September is a great time to start fresh and start it healthy. I really hope you decide to take on this challenge, and if you did our first one I hope you join again and bring a friend in with you. Let me know if you are joining by commenting below and/or by joining our Facebook community so you can share how you are keeping your diet clean and whatever else you are doing to stay healthy and active as the months cool down.

So without further ado please say hello to day one of the Clean Eating Challenge.

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Happy Wednesday Everyone!

Fallin’ off the Wagon

For the most part I do my best to live by the 80/20 rule, where I do my best to eat clean and have my meals planned and prepped 80% of the time and then I let myself relax a bit and partake in indulgences about 20% of the time. This strategy works fairly well for me there are times where it feels like I have gone off the deep end into a never ending free fall through a junk food tunnel, much like Alice when she falls down the rabbit hole.

This past weekend (probably more like week) has been one of those free falls through junk food city. Normally my reaction would be to dwell on how awful my food choices have been, how much I have let myself down, and how all this candy and junk food binge eating has been a bunch of self sabotage, but learning to move myself away from negative self talk like this has been something I have been working on since starting my health and fitness journey. It isn’t always something I am able to avoid, but when I do get into a negative spiral because maybe I shouldn’t have had a family sized bag of chips and a chocolate bar I have started to do something other than putting myself down.

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I have been teaching myself to recognize this negative self talk. As silly as that sounds recognizing that I am being hurtful towards myself did not come easy. If you are used to putting yourself down for your food choices or your lack of exercise or whatever else it may be this negative self talk becomes a habit and can become a habit that begins to holding you back from progressing.

What I mean by this is that by getting down on yourself for eating that bag of chips isn’t going to change the fact that you ate them, it isn’t going to magically zap away the processed junk and excessive amounts of fat and calories. So by contributing to negative self talk you aren’t helping yourself to progress and move forward instead you are encouraging yourself to stay in the past and dwell on actions that have already occurred.

So what do I do? It has taken myself, personally, some time to teach myself to recognize that I am doing this, my trick to to stop and ask myself “Would I ever say anything like this to a friend?” and “If a friend was saying something like this to him/her self what would I tell them?”. These questions help me to stop for a second so I can put my objective hat on. Once I am able to slow down and start looking at the situation a bit more objectively I reach for a pen and paper or anything that I can write something up on. Once I am ready I do my best to address the following:

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  1. How I am feeling? This question gives me the chance to see what is bothering me. I can then objectively look at what I feel I have done wrong. I feel that writing it out helps me to pull it out of my head, so instead of the negative though snowballing into a huge issue, I am able to see what it is on paper for what it is.
  2. I write out why. Why had I eaten the chips? Why do I feel I went over board? Why am I so upset about it?
  3. What was I feeling at the time? Was it mindless eating? Had I been upset? Am I bored? What triggered me to munch on junk?
  4. Leave it on the page. Once it is written out it is time to move on. Setbacks are one of the best way to learn about yourself, you can’t get better if there is nothing to build on and improve, so I do my best to remind myself that I may have fallen off the wagon but I have the choice to get back on and strive for better.
  5. Make new goals. Focus on something else other than the negative by finding a new positive. Figure out some new goals to work towards. They don’t necessarily need to be food based, but they should push you and motivate you in a positive way. Maybe your goal is to have more vegetables, eat less bread, do a headstand, run faster, run longer, whatever the goal is make it positive.
  6. Sharing is caring! Share your goals with one person. That person can be your significant other, your workout partner, your personal trainer, a family member. Just share your new goals with one of the people that is in your support network, letting someone know about your goals will help you motivate you because once someone knows it really becomes “real”.

This may all sound like a lot of work, but like anything else the more you do it the easier it becomes, so next time you are going over to the dark side give these steps a chance and see if they work for you.

One of the goals I have set for myself is to gain confidence in doing inversions and get myself into an unassisted headstand before going away to my yoga teacher training. So hopefully in the future I will have an upside down picture of myself to share with all of you.

If you want to share some of your goals please go ahead post them in the comments below, you never know you might help to inspire someone else to set a similar goal!