Healthy Living

5 Ways to Naturally Boost your Immunity at Home

It’s officially fall- my favourite season! I love this time of year because there are so many pretty colours and it also means that halloween is just around the corner! But with the transition from warmer weather to cooler temperatures, it’s so easy to get sick. However, if you take the necessary steps to protect your body against pathogens, you will have nothing to worry about!

Here are the best natural remedies for a strong immune system:

1. Echinacea Tea

Echinacea is in amazing herb that has the ability to naturally boost your immunity and shorten the duration of the common cold, flu, pharyngitis, cough & fever. In fact, archaeologists have found evidence that Native Americans used echinacea for more than 400 years to treat infections such as wounds and a general “cure-all”. In addition, echinacea is loaded with plant compounds that function as antioxidants which help to support a strong immune system.

Traditional Medicinals is my favourite brand of echinacea tea because the ingredients are clean and it’s very affordable! You can find it at most general stores like Bulk Barn, Loblaws, No Frills or even Shoppers Drug Mart.

2. Freshly squeezed orange juice

Drinking orange juice is a great and tasty way to build strong immunity at this time of year. Oranges are naturally packed with Vitamin C which has the ability to help our bodies produce leukocytes (white blood cells). White blood cells are what fights off infection and helps our bodies recover from illness. In addition, oranges are also rich in carotenoids which help to protect our cells from oxidative stress, as well as supports cardiovascular health πŸ«€.

Check out my new Youtube video for a delicious orange smoothie recipe that is packed with carotenoids πŸ’ͺ🏼

3. Fresh Garlic

Garlic is a natural remedy that most people already know about because of their grandparents. But today I want to tell you the reasoning why garlic has such amazing immunity boosting effects! It all starts with allicin- an active compound that gives garlic its smell and taste. Allicin has the ability to ease inflammation and block free radicals that damage cells and tissues within your body. It also has antiseptic, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties meaning that it can naturally destroy select viruses and other harmful microorganisms.

I love adding garlic to my recipes for added nutritional benefits, but when I feel myself getting sick I prefer to eat it raw. I usually mash one clove, mix it with maple syrup and take it like a spoon of cough syrup. But if raw garlic is too strong for you, you can try boiling it in 1 cup of water and drinking the water as a tea 🍡.

4. Ginger

Ginger is one of the most commonly used herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine because of its amazing immunity boosting effects! Ginger is considered a warming herb so it’s perfect for combating seasonal sicknesses such as the common cold at this time of year. In addition, ginger can help to decrease inflammation, which can help reduce a sore throat and inflammatory illnesses.

Try adding fresh ginger to your morning smoothie or even try drinking a ginger tea before bed.

5. Dressing Weather Appropriate

This one seems a bit obvious but it’s extremely important to wear adequate clothing for this time of year- I know in the mornings it can be warm, but pack a sweater anyway! This small gesture will prevent you from dealing with a runny nose for weeks on end. In addition, wearing socks around your house surprisingly helps improve your immunity. This is because a lot of body heat can be lost from walking on cold flooring!

Other helpful tips:

  • Taking a steam shower is a great way to detox, improve circulation and ease pain. By standing in a steam shower for more than 5 minutes while focusing on your breathing, your body will naturally loosen up built up mucous in the respiratory tract and provide relief. If you’re laying in bed at night and you feel congested, try taking a nice steam shower! It will not only help you breathe easier, it will also help you sleep!
  • Eat more whole plant-based foods. Plant-based foods are high in beneficial nutrients and antioxidants that can help your body fight off infections + aid in building a strong immune system!
  • Exercise. Exercising has so many benefits such as improving brain function and reducing the risk of developing certain diseases. Try visiting the gym at least 2 times a week to stay in top shape and allow you body to function at its best!

Conclusion

Thank you so much for reading my blog! I hope that at least one of these immunity boosting tips was helpful! Be sure to follow me on my socials to stay connected πŸ’—

Stay healthy & Stay glowing ✨

Healthy Living

5 Reasons Why You Aren’t Seeing Results from Working Out

Working out is a great way to improve your overall health and create a healthy lifestyle. Research suggests that exercising has many mood related benefits such as reducing anxiety, depression and improving self-esteem. Aside from all of the amazing mental benefits, some people may wonder why they aren’t seeing physical results right away. So today, I wanted to write a quick blog on 5 key reasons why you may not be achieving your fitness results just yet!

1. Too many animal products in diet, not enough fiber

Okay so one of the most important things when wanting to achieve physical fitness results is making sure that you are consuming the right foods! The first thing that I recommend to new clients is to try to reduce their intake of animal products, and to up the intake of whole plant-based foods. The great thing about plant based foods is that they are low in calories, but high in fiber and volume which will keep you feeling full for longer. Animal products are often high in calories and contain unnecessary additives such as sulfates and sodium nitrate. Additionally, animal products contain cholesterol which can increase your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and obesity.

Research supports that the plant-based diet reduces oxidative stress, inflammation and the risk of developing certain conditions later in life. To look healthy, you have to actually be healthy on the inside too! And one of the best ways to start is to incorporate more plant-based foods into your diet! Try doing Meatless Mondays or just simply being more conscious of the foods that you put into your body.

2. Need to Switch-Up Exercises

Many people stick to doing the same exercises if they’re trying to target a certain muscle group, however the best way to build strength and achieve noticeable results is to try different exercises! Our bodies are great at adapting, so if you’re doing sit-ups every night, your body will eventually get used to the motion and they won’t be much of a challenge anymore.

Changing up your routine will allow your body to build new muscles, prevent overuse injuries and increase the intensity of your workout. If you’re looking for easy at home exercises, check out my brand new Youtube Video for some inspiration! I love doing these exercises because they’re simple, quick and don’t require much space or equipment!

3. Not Being Consistent

Consistency really is key! Taking a day or two off is fine if you’re just not in the mood to be active, however it’s so important to stay true to your goals and remember why you started! Being consistent with your diet, lifestyle and long-term goals is what will get you a step closer to achieving physical results.

If you have trouble staying consistent, try creating a schedule for the week or buying an agenda. Creating lists and goals are a great way to stay motivated and stay on top of things.

4. Not Setting Goals & Lack of Organization

Setting goals is important because it allows you to actively track your progress while seeing what you may need to work on. If you get into a new workout routine without documenting your weight or measurements beforehand, it may be hard to notice any difference.

The best way to start achieving (and noticing) your results is to set very specific goals. If you want to lose weight, document how many pounds that you want to lose, if you want to build muscle, specify which muscle group and create a plan of action. Always be organized and honest with yourself so that you know exactly what you want and how you can accomplish it!

5. Unhealthy Lifestyle Habits

And lastly- unhealthy lifestyle habits! Living a healthy lifestyle means eating at regular times, not eating late, not drinking alcohol excessively, getting adequate sleep etc. Yes, working out and generally eating healthy is amazing and a step in the right direction, but it’s so important to follow healthy habits as well for your general well being!

This means making sure you meet all of your nutritional requirements, getting at least 7 hours of sleep per night and avoiding things that cause you to feel stressed. The reality is that these things can be triggers for you to overeat and therefore throw off your results. For example, if you didn’t get enough sleep, you may eat something sugary the next day to keep you awake. Or if you are going through an emotionally stressful time in your life, you may over indulge in sweets.

Setting boundaries, being organized and staying consistent are all great ways to start developing a healthier way of living!

Takeaway

Thank you so much for reading my blog! Be sure to follow me on my other social networks for more health & fitness content ✨

Sources

American College of Cardiology President: Why Cholesterol Still Matters. (2019, January 13). Retrieved from https://www.forksoverknives.com/wellness/why-cholesterol-still-matters/

Sharma, A., Madaan, V., & Petty, F. D. (2006). Exercise for mental health. The Primary Care Companion to The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 08(02), 106. https://doi.org/10.4088/pcc.v08n0208a

Sodium Nitrite: Indications, Side Effects, Warnings. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.drugs.com/cdi/sodium-nitrite.html

What You Need to Know About Sulphites. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.unlockfood.ca/en/Articles/Food-technology/What-you-need-to-know-about-sulphites.aspx

Healthy Living

5 Herbs to Spice up your life this Winter

With the seasons changing and the temperatures decreasing, it’s important to make the appropriate changes to your diet. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, we use warming herbs in the winter, and cooling herbs in the summer months in order to create a balance within the body. So today I wanted to write a quick blog on 5 different herbs that you can add to your diet in order to warm your interior, boost your immunity and promote optimal health this winter season! ❄️

I just want to start off by saying that herbal medicine that originates from the Traditional Chinese Medicinal system is a lot different than how most people think of herbal indications. Take cinnamon for example, we generally think of cinnamon as beneficial because it has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties. We also associate it with its ability to reduce inflammation.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, we actually refer to cinnamon as Rou Gui which basically just means cinnamon bark. It’s renowned for its ability to warm the interior, expel cold and alleviate pain due to its specific temperature and taste. Rou Gui is acrid and sweet and flavour, and hot in temperature which is perfect for when the temperature outside decreases. It also assists in the generation of Qi or energy and blood. In TCM terms, that means that it’s great for boosting immunity and energy levels within the body.

So without further ado, let’s talk about some interesting and useful herbs that are a great addition to any diet during the colder months!

1. Rou Gui (Cinnamon Bark)

I briefly mentioned Rou Gui, but I would like to talk more about this amazing herb because it has so many benefits! Rou Gui is a warming herb that is apart of the category of herbs that warm the interior and expel cold. It’s great for boosting immunity, reducing inflammation and reducing pain. Because it’s hot in temperature, it does a great job at pushing the cold out and moderating the effects of cooling foods that we eat!

As someone who is plant-based, I eat a lot of salads, fruits and drink a lot of smoothies- all foods that are “cold” or “cooling” in nature. In the winter months, eating just cold foods can cause stagnation, pain and therefore cause illness. I typically sprinkle a bit of cinnamon on my fruits and add some to my smoothies to balance it out!

2. Sheng Jiang (Fresh Ginger)

In TCM, there are two different kinds of ginger: fresh ginger (Sheng Jiang) and dried ginger (Gan Jiang). Gan refers to dried, while sheng means fresh- today we are going to talk about fresh ginger!

Sheng Jiang is big in Chinese Medicine with good reason- it’s a great herb for boosting the immunity, warming the middle and stopping vomiting. Because of its slightly warm temperature and acrid flavour, it has the ability to release the exterior and promote healthy digestion. We all know that fresh ginger does not taste the best πŸ˜…. But because of it’s unique qualities, it has very unique indications!

Drinking ginger tea when the weather gets colder is beneficial because it has the ability to boost your immunity and regulate digestion. Next time you feel yourself coming down with something, try making yourself a cup of warm ginger tea!

3. Jiang Huang (Turmeric)

Turmeric or Jiang Huang is one of the main herbs used in herbal medicine for reducing inflammation within the body. In addition, its active ingredient is curcumin, giving turmeric its yellow colour. Interestingly enough, Huang means yellow, which you can see displayed in the Traditional Chinese Herbal name above. Curcumin is a natural anti-inflammatory that can help improve many conditions such as heart disease, cancer, digestive disorders and even degenerative diseases. 

In TCM, Jiang Huang is apart of the category of herbs that regulate the blood. Its temperature is warm, and its taste is considered acrid and bitter. Bitter herbs generally have the function of moving blood, therefore this herb is also great for reducing swelling and pain! It’s also used in many complex herbal formulas to address menstrual conditions such as amenorrhea or dysmenorrhea. 

I add Turmeric to my diet by buying it fresh at my local grocery store and cooking it into curries and sauces. I sometimes do juicing as well and it’s a great addition that will make any juice glow! ✨

4. La Jiao (Cayenne Pepper)

I actually had to ask around about what this herb is called because it’s surprisingly not mentioned in many Traditional Chinese Medicine herbal books! So as much as I love cayenne, I’m not sure if it’s used that often in herbal medicine. But I thought it was definitely worth mentioning!

Aside from adding a lil spice to meals, cayenne pepper has so many health benefits! The active ingredient that gives these peppers their medicinal qualities is called capsaicin. Capsaicin has metabolism boosting properties! Because cayenne peppers are naturally hot in temperature, they have the ability to increase the amount of heat that your body produces, therefore naturally burning off calories. This process is called diet-induced thermogenesis which causes an increase in your metabolism and metabolic function. Many isolated studies have demonstrated that people who add cayenne pepper to their meals typically burn a few more calories than those who do not. Although the effect is small, I still find it interesting that cayenne pepper has this indication! 

5. Ding Xiang (Cloves)

Cloves or Ding Xiang is typically used in herbal medicine for warming the interior and expelling cold. It’s apart of the same category as cinnamon, however it has a few varying indications. It’s great for the stomach with conditions caused from eating too much cold. Like I mentioned earlier, adding any warming herb to your diet during the colder months is beneficial because it allows your circulation to move more effortlessly throughout your organ systems. In TCM, we have a diagnosis called “Stomach Cold” which manifests as abdominal pain, vomiting and aversion to cold. This is a great herb for that exact indication as it’s warm and acrid in nature! 

I love adding cloves to my diet by making my seasonal gingerbread cookies. The best way to buy them is whole and then grinding them down yourself using a mortar and pestle. 

Conclusion 

Thank you so much for reading my blog on herbal qualities! I personally love combining Traditional Chinese Medicine with modern day nutritional needs to balance out my diet. Herbs are great way to do that because they have such specific tastes and temperatures that can be used for many different indications. 

However, I think it’s important to mention that the purpose of this blog was to teach you a little bit about herbs and some medicinal uses they have. If you’re interested in adding warming herbs to your diet, please do so in moderation like you would with any ingredient! Just like eating too many cold foods, eating too many warming herbs is not the best for your body. The key is being mindful and taking note of what works for you. 

Thank you again for reading, please be sure to subscribe to my website and stay tuned for my new personalized services! 🌸

Sources

Bensky, D. (2004). Chinese herbal medicine: Materia medica. Eastland Press Inc.

Deng, Z.-jia, Zimmerman, G., & Ye, Q.-bo. (2014). Chinese medicinal formulas. People’s Medical Publishing House.

Maciocia, G. (2005). The practice of Chinese medicine: The treatment of diseases with acupuncture and Chinese herbs. Churchill Livingstone.

Healthy Living

A Quick Guide on Unhealthy Children’s Snacks

Does anyone else find it alarming that the most unhealthy foods are marketed for children? With colourful packaging and cartoon characters featured on the front, it’s really hard to see past marketing and labelling sometimes!

But the sad reality is that the snacks that parents trust in the most are high in sugars, artificial colourings, flavourings and preservatives. These ingredients have a list of negative side effects in children such as hyperactivity, behavioural changes and an increased risk of childhood obesity.

So today I wanted to write a quick blog on some common marketing tactics, daily recommended intakes for children, snacks to avoid and ways to incorporate healthier eating into your lifestyle!

Common Marketing Tactics

Let’s start by looking at some common marketing tactics in food and snacks intended for children.

Bright Colours:

Primary colours such as red, yellow and blue, as well as secondary colours green, orange and purple are more appealing to children than neutral shades. As children try to make sense of their environment, objects that are bright are more stimulating and interesting. This is why food and beverage companies as well as the toy industry use bright colours on their products.

Cartoon Characters:

Did you know that companies spend over $12 billion dollars a year trying to convince children to consume their products? And one of the most effective strategies is to attach a popular children’s character such as Shrek to the packaging! A recent study was conducted where children were presented with food in plain packaging and packaging that contained a licensed cartoon character such as Dora. The children consistently preferred the product with the character on it than the plain packaging.

This just goes to show you that food packaging has a huge influence on children and their perception of how a product may taste.

Games and Activities on the back

Almost all cereals have a game on the back such as connect the dots, mazes, match ups and even fun facts. This attracts children and stimulates different areas in the brain associated with happiness. In turn, this conditions them to enjoy the food more because it provides entertainment.

Daily Intake Requirements

Below you will find the daily recommended intake of sugar and sodium because they are often the main culprit in making children’s snacks completely unhealthy!

Snacks and Foods to Avoid

So now that we’ve talked about marketing strategies and daily intake requirements, let’s look at some foods that are advertised to children that contain absolutely no nutritional value πŸ™…πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

Goldfish

Goldfish is a big one! Advertised as a snack made with real cheese that contains vitamins & minerals, Goldfish are nothing but a result of good marketing- these snacks are anything but nutritious! Just one serving contains 250 mg of sodium and over 20 synthetic ingredients. Any food item that contains a list of ingredients on the back is a big no-no!

Not to mention, diets that are high in sodium are associated with an increased risk of stroke, heart failure, high blood pressure and kidney disease. Eating a lot of salt is also associated with weight gain because it causes the body to retain more water which can show up as extra pounds on the scale. 

So if you’re looking for a healthy, nutritious snack that will provide your child with energy- Goldfish are not the right choice! Be sure to read on for some much healthier alternatives for your little ones ☺️

“Fruit” Snacks

It’s no secret that fruit roll ups, fruit gushers and gummies are unhealthy. These “fruit” snacks typically advertise that they contain real fruit juice, while failing to mention that they contain a list of other ingredients such as synthetic colouring, artificial flavouring and corn syrup. Take Welch’s fruit snacks as the perfect example, they really try to gain consumers trust by advertising that fruit is their #1 ingredient. However, as you can see, just one packet also contains 11 grams of sugars, corn syrup and even red 40– a toxic colourant that has many known adverse effects.

High amounts of sugar in your child’s diet can lead to obesity which increases the likelihood of developing high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels and type 2 diabetes later in life. Consuming too much sugar is also linked to behavioural changes such as hyperactivity or depression.

Never be fooled by “fruit” snacks, buying the real fruit is much healthier and cheaper in most cases!

Granola Bars

A lot of parents believe that granola bars are a healthy choice because they contain ingredients such as oats, nuts and dried fruit. However, most granola bars contain ridiculous amounts of sugar and other ingredients. For example, just one Quaker Chewy S’mores Bar contains 6 grams of sugar… but that’s not even the worst part! One bar also contains 25+ ingredients! One granola bar should never contain a list of ingredients. Also, most companies add in chocolate chips, marshmallows and cookie bits which make granola bars more of a dessert bar than anything else.

Creating healthy habits early in a child’s life is so important because it’s what determines their health in the long run! You can start by limiting sugar intake by avoiding overly processed snacks and foods at the grocery store.

Juice Boxes

Juice boxes are commonly packed with lunch because they’re thought to be a healthier option than pop or soda. But juice boxes also contain high amounts of sugar, artificial colourants and very little real fruit juice. Take Minute Maid Apple Juice for example, one box (only 250 ml) contains 21 grams of sugar. So if your child has two at recess or on lunch break, they are consuming 42 grams of sugar all at once which is already 2x the recommended intake amount!

No wonder many children are thought to suffer from “behavioural” issues- they are just experiencing side effects associated with consuming high amounts of sugar, sodium and other foreign chemicals in their developing systems. Sugar crashes reduce concentration, mental focus, memory and often cause emotional outbursts or tantrums.

Developing Healthy Habits

Don’t feel bad if you buy these snacks or feel discouraged if they’re all your child is willing to eat. The cool thing about children is that they are so open minded and can have lots of fun with any activity if you make it fun! Here are three simple ways that you can encourage your child to eat healthier.

Bake or cook once a week together

Most young children love anything that is hands-on. Try baking together once a week to add some fun into your lifestyle while incorporating healthier eating! This can include making pasta, salads, fresh bread, sushi or even gingerbread cookies for a special occasion! If you’re not sure how to let your little one be more involved in the kitchen, ask them to measure simple ingredients or help to mix everything together. The key is to make a healthy meal to enjoy together later while creating new memories. Children are a lot more likely to eat a meal that they helped to prepare! πŸ˜‰

Make fun shapes out of fruits and veggies

Okay so we now know that children are more drawn to brightly coloured objects and their favourite cartoon characters. So, try doing the same thing with fruits and veggies- make cool shapes that will draw your child in! You can make apple butterflies, a banana elephant or even go all out and create a full scene on the plate! You can really get creative here and even go a step further and ask your child to create a scene with you. The goal is to make healthy eating a positive and fun experience!

Create your own trail mix together

Instead of packing an unhealthy granola bar, make your own trail mix together and give it a cool name! You can go to a bulk store in your area and buy different kinds of nuts, seeds and dried fruits. When you get home, mix it all together and store it in a mason jar or container and pack it with lunch! Nuts and seeds contain lots of vital nutrients, vitamins and are a great way to boost brain power. You can even add in a few chocolate chips, pretzels or candied nuts to make it more tasty! ☺️

Takeaway

The main reason why I wanted to write this blog is to show just how unhealthy most foods are that are marketed for children. I want parents to start seeing past marketing and to start seeing foods for what they usually are- cheap, unhealthy and unnecessary in any child’s diet. The simplest foods such as nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables will always provide more nutrients than something that has been extensively processed. It’s so important to realize how much money goes into targeting children’s food choices, so the best thing you can do is create a fun experience out of healthy eating!

I really hope you got something from this blog! As always, feel free to contact me if you have any questions at all.

Stay healthy and stay glowing! ✨


Sources

Adcock, M. (2018, February 04). Why Are Children Drawn to Bright Colors?: Bicultural Mama. Retrieved from https://www.biculturalmama.com/2018/02/children-drawn-bright-colors.html

Cox, L. (2013, May 30). Why Is Too Much Salt Bad for You? Retrieved from https://www.livescience.com/36256-salt-bad-health.html

Kubala, J. (2018, June 03). 11 Reasons Why Too Much Sugar Is Bad for You. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/too-much-sugar

Reducing Sodium in Children’s Diets. (2018, September 05). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/children-sodium/index.html

Sugar Recommendation Healthy Kids and Teens Infographic. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/sugar/sugar-recommendation-healthy-kids-and-teens-infographic

Healthy Living

The Hidden Dangers in Menstrual Products

Most people assume that menstrual products contain safe, non-toxic ingredients. However, that is unfortunately not the case for pads and tampons. The problem with Tampax, O.B and other conventional menstrual product manufacturers is that they use genetically modified cotton, as well as a list of other toxic ingredients such as wood pulp, plastics and dyes.

So today, I wanted to write a blog on the hidden dangers found in our menstrual products and what products to use instead! Because let’s face it- we should not be putting toxic chemicals inside of our bodies on a regular basis.

Periods: The basics

Before I dive into the horrible and unnecessary ingredients in both pads & tampons, I want to talk about why a menstrual period is such an important cycle that happens within the human body.

A period is a way for the body to cleanse itself, reproduce necessary hormones and shed off the lining of the uterus. We go through many phases both before and after our monthly cycles based on the hormones being released. Examples of this include the follicular phase, ovulatory phase and the luteal phase.

Throughout the week of our actual menstrual cycle, it is so important to allow your body to do a full cleanse! This can be experienced emotionally such as crying (PMS) or even just focusing more on your diet. What I want to get at here is that it’s so important to not add toxic chemicals to your cycle because this can later cause hormonal imbalances, bacterial infections or even a heavier flow. Chemicals and ingredients found in conventional tampons have many unadvertised side effects and dangers so let’s get into it and explore healthier alternatives!

Ingredients found in Conventional Pads and Tampons

The information that I retrieved about the ingredients found in varying menstrual products can be found on Tampax.com.

1. Genetically Modified Cotton

Genetically modified cotton was introduced in 1996 (only 25 years ago) and is thought to be one of the world’s dirtiest crops. Globally, cotton crops cover just 2.4% of the worlds cultivated land, but uses 6% of the worlds pesticides and 16% of insecticides- more than any other single major crop. This greatly increases the risk of residues being present in your personal products and can throw off the natural pH balance within your vagina.

Vaginal pH imbalances can lead to yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis and can cause allergy related symptoms such as itching.

Aside from the negative health effects associated with GM cotton, thousands of cotton farmers and their families suffer from pesticide poisoning every year. Some cotton farmers earn less than $2.00 a day for their cotton and spend up to 60% of their annual income on pesticides.

2. Rayon

Rayon is a semi synthetic fabric made from recycled wood pulp. It’s widely used in the fashion industry because of its ability to mimic the look and feel of other fabrics such as silk, cotton, wool and others. This may sound great for fashion and clothing, but it does not belong in our bodies!

Rayon is processed with many other chemicals to be broken down into cellulose, which according to Tampax “helps absorb and retain fluid”. However, rayon is processed with many chemicals such as carbon disulphide, sulphuric acid, ammonia, acetone and others. The carbon disulphide emitted from rayon has been proven to cause symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, headaches and chest pain when inhaled. Toxins released from rayon can also rarely cause tissue necrosis for people who regularly wear clothing made of this fabric.

The interesting thing is that most studies done on rayon are based on fashion or clothing, not on the effects of putting it inside of the body. It is considered one of the most dangerous fabrics, but is still one of the main ingredients in our menstrual products! #notokay

3. Propylene

Propylene is a plastic that is found in food containers like those that hold yogurt, cream cheese and butter products. It’s derived from petroleum and is found in some beauty products because it’s very cheap and is considered safe by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

However, a recent study conducted in November 2020 demonstrated that micro plastics are released from propylene infant feeding bottles. In the study, 48 regions were surveyed to estimate the global exposure to infants up to 12 months. They found values ranging from 14,600-4,550,000 particles per capita per day, depending on the region.

This greatly demonstrates that propylene plastics release micro plastics into our bodies and can have damaging health effects. The vagina is an extremely sensitive organ and using plastic derived ingredients is a big no no!

4. Paraffin

Paraffin is a by-product of the petrochemical industry and has to be intensively refined with bleach and other harmful chemicals in order to be useful. Its production is not sustainable nor environmentally friendly, making it a harmful and unnecessary ingredient in our menstrual products.

On its own, paraffin is greasy and has an unpleasant odour. So manufacturers add preservatives, fragrance and bleach to make it more appealing. This ingredient is used by Tampax as a wax “to keep the [tampon] string clean”. However, paraffin is far from clean!

Paraffin on its own can cause inflammation and irritation, but with the concoction of other chemicals added during production, it’s the perfect storm to throw off your pH.

As I mentioned earlier, vaginal pH imbalances can lead to different bacterial and fungal infections.

5. PEG-100 Stearate

PEGS or polyethylene glycols are petroleum-based compounds that are widely used in the cosmetic industry as thickeners, solvents and softeners.

Depending on the manufacturing processes, PEGs can be contaminated with measurable amounts of chemicals such as ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies ethylene oxide as a known human carcinogen and 1,4-dioxane as a possible human carcinogen. Additionally, ethylene oxide can also harm the nervous system and has been classified as a developmental toxicant by the California Environmental Protection Agency.

You would think that with all of the evidence behind the dangers related to this ingredient that it would not be used in menstrual products, however there is very little regulation as you can see! Most people assume that their personal products are safe and are willing to use them regardless of ingredients which is why big companies are still using cheap and unsafe ingredients. We definitely need more activism and awareness around this issue!

6. Titanium Dioxide

Titanium Dioxide is a pigment that is used in both pads and tampons to make them appear whiter. Titanium dioxide has recently been classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as an IARC Group 2B carcinogen “possible carcinogen to humans”.

This ingredient is widely used to provide a whiter appearance and opacity to products such as paints, plastics, papers, inks, foods and toothpaste. It can also be found in a variety of beauty products and lotions such as sunscreen.

Although it has been proven to likely be carcinogenic, this ingredient is still used in many products including menstrual products.

Healthier Alternatives for your Cycle & Your body

So now that you know why you should avoid conventional menstrual products at all costs, let’s explore some healthier alternatives and brands!

Natracare Products

This brand is my go to- you can find it at Loblaws or even Amazon! I love this brand because it lists the ingredients right on the box. I also love that they use 100% organic cotton, are plastic & fragrance free, totally chlorine free and are biodegradable!

If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to your personal care products, check out Natracare. They are about the same price as regular pads and tampons, but contain much cleaner ingredients!

Organyc Products

Organyc is also a safe and clean choice for menstrual products. They are very similar to Natracare and do not contain genetically modified cotton or any of the other chemicals that we discussed. You can find their products at Healthy Planet or order from their website.

The Diva Cup

I don’t want to speak much on something that I personally have never tried, but I have heard great things about the Diva Cup! Not only is it a more environmentally friendly option, it doesn’t contain many ingredients that will linger in your body afterwards.


Takeaway

As you can see, there is not much regulation that goes into the manufacturing of menstrual products. It seems that because most people trust the ingredients, big companies and corporations can get away with adding cheap and harmful ingredients to our personal products. That is why it’s so important to take your own health into account and start educating yourself on common ingredients. Before I wrote this blog, I knew tampons and pads contained harmful chemicals but I will admit that I’m a bit shocked by the amount of information there is on this already. Needless to say, we need to start voting with our money and stop buying products that we know are not good for us.

Always remember- you are the only one with your health in best interest! Most big companies will do anything to make a bit of profit.

Thank you so much for reading my blog! Check out my personalized services and be sure to follow me on Instagram for updates β˜€οΈ

Sources

Carbon disulfide – US EPA. (1992, April 11). Retrieved May 11, 2021, from https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-09/documents/carbon-disulfide.pdf

Government of Canada, C. C. (2021, May 09). Titanium Dioxide : OSH Answers. Retrieved May 11, 2021, from https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/chemicals/chem_profiles/titanium_dioxide.html

Joy, R. (2020, September 23). Is polypropylene a safe plastic to use in your home? Retrieved May 11, 2021, from https://www.healthline.com/health/is-polypropylene-safe

Li, D., Shi, Y., Yang, L., Xiao, L., Kehoe, D. K., Gun’ko, Y. K., . . . Wang, J. J. (2020). Microplastic release from the degradation of Polypropylene feeding bottles during infant Formula Preparation. Nature Food, 1(11), 746-754. doi:10.1038/s43016-020-00171-y

Ltd, B. S. (2021, April 27). The Problem With Paraffin In Emollients. Retrieved May 11, 2021, from https://balmonds.co.uk/blogs/blog/the-problem-with-paraffin-in-emollients

Mancini, F., Bruggen, A. H., Jiggins, J. L., Ambatipudi, A. C., & Murphy, H. (2005). Acute Pesticide Poisoning among Female and Male Cotton Growers in India. International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health,11(3), 221-232. doi:10.1179/oeh.2005.11.3.221

Polypropylene. (2021, May 01). Retrieved May 11, 2021, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polypropylene#Health_concerns

Rayon (Viscose). (n.d.). Retrieved May 11, 2021, from https://cfda.com/resources/materials/detail/rayon-viscose

Schwebel, D. C., & Swart, D. (2009). Preventing paraffin-related injury. Journal of Injury and Violence Research,1(1), 3-5. doi:10.5249/jivr.v1i1.1

The Dirty Dozen: PEG Compounds and their contaminants. (2020, February 12). Retrieved May 11, 2021, from https://davidsuzuki.org/queen-of-green/dirty-dozen-peg-compounds-contaminants/

Watson, S. (2019, July 11). Everything You Need to Know About Maintaining Your Vaginal pH Balance: Normal Levels… Retrieved May 11, 2021, from https://www.healthline.com/health/womens-health/vaginal-ph-balance

Healthy Living

How to Organize & Balance your Lifestyle

A few of my clients have asked me how I balance my worklife, schooling and staying healthy while still having time for my hobbies (like blogging)! I will admit, at first I felt like I was juggling a million things.

The main thing I struggled with was time. I felt like the days were flying by and I didn’t have time to cook, workout or do anything for leisure. There were days when I wouldn’t eat to have more time to blog, and times when I would skip a workout because I hadn’t eaten earlier. It became a cycle and it’s so easy to fall into it!

That’s why it’s so important to keep your goals and best interests in mind! Having an organized and balanced lifestyle means having time to eat healthy meals, exercise regularly and still have time for your daily tasks & hobbies!

So today I wanted to give you some tips to help you balance and organize your lifestyle this 2021:

1. Buy a daily planner or agenda

Having a place to write down all of your tasks, goals and daily activities will really help you add organization to your life. I recently bought an agenda from the dollar store and it honestly works wonders! I use it to plan my blog posts, instagram posts, write down my goals, appointments and even leave reminders for myself. It’s a great way to start organizing your life in a way that makes you happy.

Start by writing down 3 goals every morning that you would like to accomplish. Whether it’s a hobby like practicing guitar or a chore such as going grocery shopping, setting goals for yourself is crucial for a productive lifestyle. Just think of where you could be six months from now if you started setting goals for yourself and working hard to achieve them! πŸ’«

2. Develop a regular sleeping schedule

Developing a regular sleeping schedule benefits both our mental and physical wellbeing. Research has linked getting proper sleep to improved concentration, better moods, increased productivity and better overall health! Even if you have an extremely busy lifestyle, you owe it to yourself to get enough rest and genuinely feel good throughout the day.

Having a regular sleeping schedule means going to bed around the same time every night and waking up at a set time each morning. You should be getting at least 7-9 hours of sleep per night for your brain to properly function the following day!

To regulate your sleeping schedule, set a time that you would like to wake up at and start your day. If waking up at 7:00 am is ideal, make sure you’re in bed by 10:00 pm latest to ensure you get at least 8 hours. This will give your body a full 8 hours to rest and you will wake up feeling replenished! If you have trouble falling asleep at a set time, try exercising throughout the day or taking a hot bath before bed.

For more tips on improving your sleep, check out my blog Natural & Simple Ways to Get Better Sleep– it has 5 tips that will surely help you get a good nights rest tonight! πŸŒ™

3. Make sure you’re eating at regular times

Creating a set eating schedule is just as important as getting enough rest per night! Our bodies work on a circadian rhythm which is basically a fancy word for our own internal clock. Our sleep schedule, our eating schedule and daily routines all depend on our circadian rhythm. So that’s why it’s important to eat around the same time everyday- if you eat at around 12:00 pm daily, your digestive system will be expecting food. But if you decide to skip a meal, you will throw off your bodies natural cycle and you will leave your digestive system feeling depleted. This results in feeling even more hungry later on which increases the likelihood of weight gain.

To create a healthy eating pattern, set three times a day that you would like to eat and actually have time to enjoy your food. If you have work or school, it’s best to plan meals during break times. Make sure you pack a healthy lunch and bring some fruit like bananas! When I was in school full time, I would bring 3 bananas with me to eat throughout the day and they’re such a nice source of energy!

If you have more time at home, plan your meals and create grocery lists to reduce wasting money and time. Each time I go grocery shopping, I write down some foods I would like to eat and then break them down into ingredients that are needed. It makes things so much easier and ensures that you will have everything you need for the week!

4. Do your grocery shopping and laundry at least once a week

Which brings me to my next tip, make sure you do your grocery shopping and laundry at least once a week otherwise you will fall behind! I used to just let my laundry gather in my hamper until I had 2 loads to do at a time and it became overwhelming. So now, I make sure to do my laundry on Sunday’s and my grocery shopping on Monday’s. But you can choose the days that work best with your schedule!

Setting a day for tasks that (let’s be honest) no one really wants to do, allows you to spend the other 5 days a week focusing on things you’d like to focus on like your hobbies, family or personal relationship. Not to mention, having clean clothes and a stocked kitchen feels really nice! So set two days of the week where you really aim to get stuff done!

5. Make sure you get enough physical activity

I recently wrote a blog on the importance of physical activity and some statistics based on the dietary guidelines. Getting enough physical activity is crucial for maintaining a healthy weight and sweating out toxins. Working out is also a great way to relieve stress! But with gyms being closed, I can understand why it can be hard to stick to a schedule.

However, just think of how good working out makes you feel and look! You can still maintain that feeling in the comfort of your home! You don’t even need much equipment. I stay fit by using resistance bands, a kettlebell and a yoga mat! I also workout every other day of the week, so on Sunday’s, Tuesdays, Thursdays and sometimes Saturdays.

Start by working out twice this week for at least 30 minutes and watch how amazing you’ll feel! Your skin will feel revitalized and your muscles will feel nice and tight. Then you can gradually increase the amount of time that you workout, as well as the amount of days! Always go at your own pace and have fun with it!


Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog! I really hope that you gained something from it that will help you become healthier this 2021! If you’re interested in personalized advice or meal plans, please check out my services page!

Wishing you a happy, healthy and abundant 2021 🌟

Healthy Living, nutrition

5 Tips to Boost your Overall Health Based on The Dietary Guidelines

I’m all about living a healthy lifestyle and I honestly think that the best way to start is by switching to healthier alternatives of your favourite foods. I recently started reading the Dietary Guidelines for Americans: 2015-2020 and was shocked by some of the current health statistics which inspired me to write this blog!

When I say “food is medicine” I really do mean it! Did you know that eating the right foods and getting enough physical activity can reduce conditions such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer and osteoporosis?

Eating the right foods is so crucial when it comes to achieving optimal health and genuinely feeling amazing everyday!

Here are some quick facts about Nutrition and Physical Activity Related Health Conditions in the US:

Obesity:

  • For more than 25 years, half of the adult population has been overweight or obese.
  • In 2009-2012, 65% of adult females and 73% of adult males were overweight or obese.
  • Obesity is most prevalent in individuals aged 40 or over and least prevalent in adults with the highest incomes.

Cardiovascular Disease (CVD):

  • In 2010, cardiovascular disease affected about 84 million men & women ages 20 years and older (35% of the population).
  • In 2009-2012, almost 56% of adults ages 18 years and older had either prehypertension (27%) or hypertension (29%).
  • In 2009-2012, 100 million adults ages 20 years or older (53%) had total cholesterol levels >200mg/dL.

Diabetes:

  • In 2012, the prevalence of diabetes (type 1 and type 2) was 14% for men and 11% for women ages 20 years or older. (90% of total diabetes in adults is type 2).
  • Among children with type 2 diabetes, about 80% were obese.

The harsh reality is that there are so many diseases and conditions that stem from years of eating an improper diet and not getting enough physical activity. But don’t lose hope!

All you have to do is follow these simple steps to boost your nutrient profile and your overall health πŸ™‚

1. Make sure you’re getting enough exercise

Only 20% of adults meet the Physical Activity Guidelines. These guidelines establish how much exercise we should be doing daily/weekly in order to reduce the risk of the conditions mentioned above. Establishing and maintaining a regular physical activity schedule into your lifestyle can provide so many health benefits! Strong evidence shows that working out regularly helps individuals maintain a healthy weight, as well as lowers the risk of early death, stroke and high blood pressure.

Youth ages 6 to 17 years of age need at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day which should include aerobic, muscle-strengthening and bone strengthening activities.

Adults need a little over 2 hours of physical activity of moderate intensity and should do muscle-strengthening exercises on 2 or more days of the week.

Incorporating physical activity into your lifestyle can be easy and really fun! Try taking the stairs instead of taking the elevator, or even go for a nice family walk after dinner. Simple switches can really make a huge difference in your health a few years down the road!

Stay tuned for my next blog post which will have some fitness tips and workouts that you can do at home during the pandemic! πŸ˜‰πŸ’ͺ🏼

2. Follow a healthy eating pattern

A healthy eating pattern includes eating at an appropriate calorie level to support a healthy body weight and including a variety of nutrient rich foods in your diet to prevent deficiencies.

Individual calorie needs vary based on age, sex, height, weight and level of physical activity, however there are a few guidelines to take in mind when developing a healthy eating pattern:

  • Consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from added sugars.
  • Consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from saturated fats.
  • Consume less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day.

Following these general guidelines is really important, but I don’t want you to start doing math and calculating your calories. I don’t even count my calories! The main thing to takeaway is to reduce your intake of foods that contain added sugars, saturated fats, trans fats and sodium.

3. Make simple switches

Which brings me to my next tip- make simple switches! This doesn’t mean that you will never get to eat fettuccine alfredo again, it just means adding veggies or maybe even using a plant based milk for the sauce instead! It’s so much fun to experiment with different foods and making swaps while cooking at home.

An easy way to start getting more nutrient rich vegetables into your diet is to make a salad with your dinner. Buy some iceberg lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cucumber and apples for a fresh inexpensive salad. Using olive oil, salt and lemon juice is also much healthier than using store bought salad dressings which contain GMO ingredients such as canola oil.

A great way to incorporate more fruits into your diet is to make a fruit smoothie in the morning or for lunch. Fruit smoothies contain high amounts of antioxidants and other vital nutrients! So many of us live busy lifestyles where eating 5 fruits a day may be time consuming and hard to keep up with. But making a smoothie combines ingredients like berries, bananas and mangos that contain nutrients that you otherwise wouldn’t get!

Check out my smoothie recipes for 3 inexpensive and healthy smoothies that you can make tomorrow morningβ˜€οΈ

4. Increase your intake of fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds

The average intake of fruits and vegetables in the US is largely below average which demonstrates the need for us to all start eating more foods from these food groups! I’m sure I’ve mentioned this already but fruits and vegetables are amazing for us and you can never eat too many! It’s really important to make sure that you’re eating a variety of fruits and veggies as they all contain different vital nutrients that are useful to our bodies in their own ways.

Here are some vegetable subgroups and examples, the goal is to increase your intake from each subgroup and make sure choosing different kinds from each category.

Even just choosing 3 additional items to add to your grocery list will make a positive impact on your health! Try grabbing some dark green vegetables next time you go grocery shopping, or even some red & orange vegetables. Have fun with it and always nourish your body.

5. Set Goals

Setting goals is important because it keeps you motivated, on top of things and sets a standard. I personally set 3 goals each morning which revolve around reading something new, meditating for at least 10 minutes and making a smoothie. Because of my routine, I am constantly improving my daily habits and lifestyle, while staying entertained!

I also set health related goals for myself- I make sure to get enough physical activity, I follow a healthy eating pattern and I try my best to incorporate fruits and vegetables into my diet whenever possible.

These goals are what keeps me healthy and feeling great every single day! I highly suggest developing some health oriented goals based on the guidelines that we discussed.

Doing more physical activity, eating more plant based foods and limiting your intake of added sugars, saturated fats, trans fats & sodium have all been proven to reduce nutrition related health conditions.


Takeaway

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog! If you have any questions at all, feel free to reach out to me through email: NaturalGlowellness@gmail.com or through my Instagram page. I love working with individuals to better their eating habits!⚑️

I also wanted to mention that all of the information in this blog is from the Dietary Guidelines For Americans: 2015-2020 Eighth Edition. A 2020-2025 Edition was just released on their website and has a free download. If you’re as interested in health and wellness as I am, I highly suggest it! It’s a great read and has some great facts about healthy eating! Just click the above highlighted link 😁

Good luck on your health journey!!

Healthy Living

Why the Modelling Industry Just Wasn’t for Me

Okay so a few weeks ago, I posted a blog on my life and some of the struggles that I went through to become who I am today. I didn’t get the chance to talk about modelling and my personal experiences in the industry. From doing photoshoots to working big events, it was honestly fun for a bit but over time I learned that it wasn’t for me. An industry that is solely based on your looks and not your skills or personality pushes unhealthy habits on young women and I eventually learned that the hard way.

I feel like so many people are fed this illusion through social media and advertisements that models live a perfect life where they always feel confident and everyone adores them. But the reality is that there is a lot that goes on behind closed doors which is why I decided to write this blog.

Let me start by saying this- I’ve stopped doing professional photoshoots and attending castings and I’ve never felt more confident! The modelling industry made me feel like I had to always care about the way I looked and I am so happy that I finally feel free to be myself.

The Harsh Reality

I started modelling when I was about 19 and my first photoshoot was for the Toronto Sun Newspaper. I didn’t take it too seriously at first, but as my following began to grow and as I started to get more opportunities, I naturally put more time into it.

If you scroll all the way back on my instagram feed to my first posts before modelling, I would post things I was interested in like crystals, nature and healthy food. But as I started working with more people, I stopped posting the things I liked because I felt like I needed to fit in. I started uploading photos of me in my bikini and selfies because those are the photos that got the highest engagement amongst photographers and brands. I was also copying what I saw a lot of other models doing.

I completely lost my sense of individuality. I was smart, enrolled in Pre Health Sciences and had a passion for natural health but I didn’t feel like that was valuable. I put all of my self worth in my appearance and started to disregard the things that made me unique. And the interesting thing is that you still see this playing out on a lot of models feeds.

The reality is that the industry is extremely competitive and puts a lot of pressure on young girls. You have to basically fit yourself into a box and follow today’s beauty standards to attend castings. If you’re too short, too tall, overweight or underweight- you won’t get called back and they’ll make it apparent why.

I remember being told so many times that I was too short because I’m only 5’2 and look too young multiple times. It eventually got to me and became an insecurity which is something I don’t even care about now.

The sad thing is that after attending multiple castings and not getting called back, you can only really attribute it to your looks since that’s all the industry cares about. This is exactly why there is such a high prevalence of eating disorders in the modelling industry. Approximately 40% of models have eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder.

What we are doing to young girls in exchange for photos is extremely detrimental to their health and our societies beauty standards. Women are literally starving themselves and getting cosmetic surgery to sustain an industry by men, for men.

We are trusting an industry that is run by men to tell us what women should look like.

I personally think that the whole industry is flawed. Sure, there are plenty of good agencies and photographers, but that’s not the problem. The problem is the image the industry is selling to young girls. We should be teaching young girls to strive for more than just looking good in a photo.

I never thought of the fact that younger girls may be looking up to me until recently and that’s what made me really want to change.

Because it would have only taken one model or influencer to open up about these things to make me feel okay with being myself at 19.

I’m so happy that throughout my modelling experience, I was in school. But many young girls don’t pursue schooling and just get right into modelling just because of what they’ve seen on Instagram or on billboards.

But don’t let that fool you, so much more happens than the public sees.


Healthy Living

My Life Story: Becoming the best version of myself

Hey guys! I have been having so much fun creating content, researching nutrition and writing blogs on various health topics that I’m interested in. But I thought now would be a great time to tell you about my life and my story. This is my first time really opening up about certain things in my life on social media and I hope that I can inspire someone who may be going through something similar. Because honestly, if I overcame depression in some of the darkest points of my life, I know that you can too!

The interesting thing is when you go on someone’s social media profile, it’s easy to assume their life is perfect because social media only shows the happy (and edited) moments of peoples lives. Most people don’t openly talk about their struggles or what they’ve had to go through to get to where they are today. But I want to change that, about myself at least. I am going to share my experiences and what led me to become who I am today. Because the tough times that I went through really helped me learn, grow and have hope that everything does in fact happen for a reason.

Unhealthy family relationships and grieving…

When I was 15, my father passed away very suddenly. It was extremely scary because he did not have any health complications, and it all happened in the span of one morning. My mom, my sisters and I were all devastated and in a state of shock for months. During that time, my sisters and I had to plan my dads funeral which to this day was the hardest thing that I have ever done. We didn’t have time to grieve, or be upset, we only had time to try and plan things the way that my dad would have liked.

My dad owned his own construction company and worked so hard. He woke up every single weekday at 5:00 AM to do jobs and sometimes wouldn’t be home until 10 at night. He made sure to provide my mom, my sisters and I with everything we could have ever imagined. Money was never a problem, and I strive to work as hard as he did. I am going to make him so proud.

I can honestly say that in that time, I lost a part of myself that I know I will never get back. Even looking back as a 24 year old now, I really wonder how I did it at 15. I was only in grade 10, and within a few weeks I started failing more and more classes. I barely made any friends in high school because I was so depressed. So many people spread rumours about me while I was away and I had teachers commenting on my situation while I was in class.

Luckily, I had my boyfriend and he was a nice distraction from everything going on in my life. My boyfriend and I met one year before my dad passed away, and he was really there for me throughout the whole funeral process. He made sure to always provide me with comfort and support, and to this day I love that he helped me through such a tough time. We were both only 15 when this happened, and he took it upon himself to make sure I was okay.

In terms of getting support from my mom and my two older sisters, I felt almost embarrassed to talk to them about how I felt. My father passing away really affected them and they refused to get any sort of help. They spiraled down a really bad path and became very toxic towards me. I had my mom tell me that my dad never loved me and that I didn’t even know him, which really hurt me. At the time, I let them emotionally abuse me because I knew they were acting out of a place of hurt. I’m also the youngest in my family, and speaking up was definitely not an option.

About a year after my dad passed away, my mom and sisters ended up kicking me out of my house. I was blamed for their depression and anxiety and I was told that they would be better off without me. I was sent out in the middle of the night while it was pouring rain, and my boyfriend ended up meeting me at a McDonald’s. It really was a life defining night. I ended up at my best friends house, and stayed there for a few weeks. I still tried my best to go to school everyday but had no motivation to really do anything. I missed my dad, and I missed the way that my family used to be.

After about a month of living at my friends house, I ended up having to go back home. When I went home, I asked my family if they wanted to do counselling with me, but was told that my relationship with them wasn’t worth it. Me going back home gave my mom and sisters every bit of power that they wanted over me. I didn’t have privacy and was put down on a daily basis.

Losing Everything

Shortly after, we ended up losing our house and our car because we were failing to make payments on things that my dad got us. We moved into this small, old house in a lower class neighbourhood and things really did get progressively worse.

The emotional abuse was starting to turn into physical abuse. All of my birthdays started getting ignored and I was treated as if I wasn’t apart of my family anymore. A lot of it was because my mom and sisters assumed that I had my boyfriend, and I didn’t need them which is just ridiculous. Of course I needed them, and I tried my absolute hardest to include them in my life.

I continued living each day, but never felt genuinely happy. I was depressed, anxious and constantly on the verge of crying. I felt so lost and like nothing I did was ever good enough. If I did something wrong, I would have my mom and sisters behind me to harshly judge me and then give me the silent treatment for weeks. It took a huge emotional toll on me and I always felt left out. This sense of “not belonging” followed me every day and I felt so uncomfortable in social situations because of it. I started to judge myself the same way that they were judging me, and really started to dislike who I was as a person. I assumed the things they were saying about me were right.

Maybe me being interested in things like diet and nutrition was pointless. And maybe social media was a waste of my time. And what if everyone does think I’m stupid? I began emotionally abusing myself more than anything.

Getting kicked out

Like I said, things were getting worse and worse. My older sister had physically attacked me on multiple occasions and my stuff was getting stolen while I was at school. I accepted everything because I didn’t know that many people and felt trapped more than anything.

It wasn’t until the day that my mom decided to physically attack me that I decided it was time to go.

After getting in another dumb argument, I had my mom grab me by my arms and try to throw me out of my house in front of my sisters. I was so embarrassed and still remember my mom trying to provoke me to fight her back. It was really shocking because I watched her go from a loving mom, to someone who was overcome with depression and hate for me. It hurt. I locked myself in my room and had my two sisters banging on my door threatening that they would call the police on me if I didn’t leave.

I was only 20, I had no idea how to move out or really how to do anything. It was also my final week of exams at George Brown College and if I failed, I could lose everything. I was so scared but I knew that it was time.

Moving on from my family

I moved into my boyfriends house because I had no other choice at the time. It was so difficult for both of us because it was still exam week, and we could not afford to fail any classes. Luckily, our hard work paid off and we ended up passing everything, but it was not easy. I was literally crying every night, I even tried going back “home” a few times to try and apologize, only to be turned away. I brought my mom pink roses, because that was her favourite colour but none of my efforts were noticed.

At that age, I was only apologizing because I was deeply depressed, I had just lost my dad to a sudden death and I could not emotionally deal with losing my family as well. It’s crazy to think that my older sisters actually looked me in the eyes and turned me away now that I think of it. I would personally never treat any family of mine in such away, but to each their own.

After about three months, my boyfriends parents ended up helping me get a nice studio apartment. We rented a moving truck and drove to my old house to pick everything up. I wasn’t surprised to find all of my belongings on my old street including my mattress on the pavement with my sheets still on it with my clothes and shoes scattered everywhere. All of my old neighbours watched as I grabbed my things and I knew that they were told a different version of the story, but I had to just move on. Now wasn’t the time to worry about what people thought of me, I had to just move on.

I got into my new place and I honestly loved it. I finally had a safe space, privacy and somewhere that I could call my own. My boyfriend and I decorated it nicely with what we had, but we honestly had no money. We owed his family money for the apartment, and I also had to pay some stuff off from when I lived at home.

Luckily, I am First Nations which means that I can receive a three year sponsorship for any program I choose. I chose the Traditional Chinese Medicine program because I always loved natural health and nutrition, and I was also greatly inspired by my dad. I knew that I would be able to make a difference in the world and also help people get back on track in terms of health.

The sponsorship is really what allowed me to study what I loved. At that time, there was no way that I could afford a college education. It really motivated me and helped me gain the knowledge that I currently have.

I started the Traditional Chinese Medicine program in 2016 and at the time I had no family, no friends and no idea of what I wanted my future to be. I travelled to campus every single day which was a 2 hour commute, and tried my hardest to stay on top of things. But I was depressed, anxious and confused. I was falling apart inside and worrying about my grades didn’t make it any better.

What I gained from my experience…

Looking back now, I am shocked by what my own family put me through in my teen years and early adulthood, but I am so thankful that I didn’t give up!

I graduated from my program this year and I even started my own business to inspire people. It definitely was a long and emotionally difficult journey, but it was so worth it.

Honestly, it sounds cliche but the best lessons in life are free: the tough times, the heartbreaks, losing everything, feeling broken. Because in those times it’s then that you have to pick yourself back up. You realize that it’s you and only you. And although that thought may seem scary, it’s actually quite liberating!

I no longer care nearly as much about what people think of me because no one will ever be able to hurt me the way my family did, and from that I now have strength.

I started meditating, becoming more spiritual and reflecting inwards. If I felt anxious, upset or depressed, I started finding the root for my emotions. Of course, the majority of them stemmed from my past but knowing this allowed me to properly confront them and heal. Knowing my weaknesses, allowed me to also know my strengths.

I started liking who I was again. I know that I am smart, I know that I am heard and I know that the way that my family treated me was because they were hurt. I don’t have to let any of those times define me, because they don’t. If anything they make me stronger.

We all hold so much power inside of us. And I know that the school system or good times in life will never teach us or define us the way that the bad times can. I have learned that when you go through something difficult, you should take a step back and ask yourself what the situation is teaching you instead of letting it emotionally affect you.

Don’t become the emotion, observe it.

Every single thing we go through is teaching us something whether we see it or not.

We have to go through certain events to become the people that we are today. These events are what shapes us and makes us more empathetic, less judgemental and more understanding.

If you erase the pain and difficulty of your past, you also erase all of the knowledge that you gained from it. My life events shaped me into who I am today.

I have found what it’s like to be happy and most importantly I have found myself. I would never let anyone treat me the way that I was treated before, and I would never treat others the way that I was treated!

Takeaway

It’s been about 5 years and my family has still not reached out to me after kicking me out of their lives. For a while, I spent every day hoping that one of them would contact me. But I have moved on. I no longer need people like that in my life and I am better off without them. I’ve met so many amazing people since then who actually respect me as a person.



Thank you so much for taking the time to read about my life story and my personal experiences. It took me quite some time to write this blog because it has a lot of emotion in it, but I really hope it inspired you in some way!

Healthy Living

How to Become More Motivated

We’ve all been there- feeling unmotivated and drained at times. However, if you don’t push yourself to accomplish your goals and achieve your dream life, no one will. It’s so important to be motivated, set goals for yourself and make sure that you are always on top of things. You have to be your number one supporter and really believe in yourself!

I know that it’s definitely easier said than done, however I know that you have the will power and drive to make changes in your life that will positively benefit you. The sacrifices and time it takes to design a better life is well worth it, trust me! I’ve learned that being motivated can attract better things and better people into your life, and you may even be able to inspire others along the way πŸ™‚

Here are 5 tips that help me stay motivated and achieve my goals:

1. Write down 3 goals each morning

Okay so this is actually so important! Checking your phone when you first wake up is so damaging to your mental health and your mind. We are so impressionable in the mornings, meaning that if we get a message with bad news or a mean photo comment, it’s really going to affect our morning and possibly slow us down. The best thing to do is wake up, make yourself a nice smoothie or lemon water and write down 3 things that you would really like to accomplish in the day.

Whether it’s doing your laundry, or practicing a hobby- it will get you further than not setting goals for yourself. Just imagine where you could be in six months if you started accomplishing just 3 tasks daily!

2. Align your lifestyle with your goals

When I started this blog three months ago, I was still doing things that were setting me back. For example, watching Netflix at night before bed. It seems harmless, but the 45 minutes spent watching Dragon’s Den, could have been spent on my brand and my life instead.

That’s when I started aligning my life with my long-term goals. Instead of watching TV at night, I started brainstorming ideas for future blogs and posts. This simple switch made a huge difference in my life because it made me value my time above anything else. So take it from me, if you spend your time wisely you will value it a lot more.

3. Practice being more grateful, positive and thankful

Seeing the glass as half full rather than half empty is just a better mindset to have. The interesting thing about our mentalities is that we get to choose how we feel in certain situations. Instead of feeling frustrated that you haven’t advanced as much as you’d like in 2 weeks, be grateful with the progress that you did make. Each time you find yourself frustrated or stressed, take a step back and really ask yourself why you feel this way.

Confronting your feelings and stopping any negativity in its tracks is a great way to re-wire your brain and become more mindful in the future. I’ve always said that a negative mind cannot give you a positive life!

4. Work hard and always keep your progress private

The sad reality is that not everyone is going to be happy for you when you start accomplishing more and doing better. Keeping your future goals and current progress to yourself is important because you do not want to allow the energies of others to affect your motivation or ambition. For example, if you tell your friend that you are starting a new blog and they don’t act super happy for you, you may start to doubt yourself. Whether you realize it on a conscious level or not, this affects you and can easily de-motivate you.

Keep your progress to yourself and keep working hard. Like I said, you are your main supporter!

5. Network and make it happen!

Connect with like-minded individuals and make it happen! If you’re into health, start following health related accounts or local gyms on your social media. If you’re into music, start following local artists or musicians. You would be surprised by how many amazing people you can actually meet through Instagram. I personally reach out to a lot of accounts, and it’s so cool when you meet someone who shares similarities. If this intimidates you, ask yourself what do you have to lose versus what do you have to gain from reaching out to others online?

It’s a great way to connect, get inspired and push yourself even further. When you start surrounding yourself with better people, you too will be able to better yourself.