Archive for resolutions

just breathe october

just breathe october - nu roots

Happy October! It is an incredibly joyous month for me, as I get to spend it with my brand spanking new baby boy. I am smitten!! I’m going to keep this quick, so I can get back to him…

I am writing this 4 days postpartum and the timing couldn’t be more perfect for this month’s resolution. The theme of the month…just breathe.

Breathing exercises are something I have long recommended to my clients as a part of a holistic lifestyle. They are said to:

  • balance the left and right brain
  • decrease stress
  • decrease blood pressure
  • alkalize the body (to help prevent disease)
  • switch you out of “fight or flight” mode and into “rest and digest”
  • increase oxygenation to the tissues
  • improve sleep quality
  • help get you through tough situations…like labour ;) and all the other aches and pains that come after childbirth
  • overall enhance well-being

During prenatal classes our instructor often commented on my excellent breathing techniques. My husband and I often joked that I’d been doing it (breathing) since the moment I was born, it’s no wonder I was so good. If you watch a baby breathe…my favorite new hobby, they take deep belly breaths, the kind I am going to recommend you try this month. Deep belly breaths tell your body “everything is okay, I’m calm, relaxed without a care in the world”. It is thought that we lose this quality as we get older and more stressed, and conscious of our bellies looking too big, so we start to develop short, shallow, chest breathing which tells our body a completely different message. This sends the message “everything is not okay” hang on to food, hang on to water, perhaps we’re in a drought, a famine, a war and we need to protect our internal organs.

Any mamas out there will know there is no better time to use your breath than during childbirth. And although I didn’t necessarily receive the beautiful, natural childbirth I had so desired due to unforeseen complications (this story to come, if you are interested), my breathing got me through some incredibly tough moments.

The moral of the story: tell your body everything is okay. Breathe – deeply, consciously, daily. It will listen and benefit you in ways you may not have thought possible. All by doing the most simple task we all do thousands of times a day.

The challenge of the month – do 1 of the following 3 breathing exercises 1 to 2 times per day.

My three favorite breathing exercises:

The 4, 7, 8 breath

Breathe in for a count of 4, hold for 7 counts, slowly blow out for 8 counts. Repeat this 4 times in a row. Do the exercise twice a day.

Alternate nostril breathing

Step one: Use right thumb to close off right nostril.
Step two: Inhale slowly through left nostril
Step three: Pause for a second
Step four: Now close left nostril with ring finger and release thumb off right nostril
Step five: Exhale through your right nostril
Step six: Now, inhale through right nostril
Step seven: Pause
Step eight: Use thumb to close of right nostril
Step nine: Breathe out through left nostril
Step ten: This is one round. Start slowly with 1 or 2 rounds and gradually increase.Never force.Sit quietly for a few moments after you have finished.

Source: http://thehealthylivinglounge.com/2009/06/16/12-great-reasons-to-start-alternate-nostril-breathing-today/

Deep belly breathing

Keep it simple. Just sit still, close your eyes, focus on your breath and feel your belly move out on the inhale and in on the exhale. Do this for 5 minutes or as long as you want if it feels good.

Have a happy, healthy, safe October and always remember…just breathe!

Lots of love from an incredibly happy brand new mama!

Sam

get outside august

Get Outdoors August - nu roots nutrition

Hooray, it’s time for another monthly resolution! If you’ve been following my blog this year, you’ll know that I’ve been taking on one challenge every month as a sort of mini resolution, alternating between lifestyle and nutrition goals in order to continue to my progress towards optimal health. I encourage all my lovely followers (yup, that’s you) to join in the fun, and keep me up to date on your progress.

So I have to apologize as I am a day late (yes, I know this is not the first time). Perhaps one of these months I’ll have to do a post about procrastination, admittedly one of my absolute worst traits…but then again, I could always do that as a challenge next year :P

Some days I can sit inside in front of my computer for hours upon hours and before I know it, the day is over. Other days, I make excuses like “it’s raining” (I use that one a lot in the Netherlands), or “it’s too hot and I’m too pregnant for this heat” (sorry men, this one will not work for you). Well, excuses no more, once I make my resolutions I stick to them! At least for that month…

The challenge: spend a minimum of 60 minutes per day, rain or shine, outdoors doing something for fun. Get out and walk the dog, go for a bike ride, take a walk in the park, sit under a tree and read a book, plant a garden, or do any other fun outdoor activity.

Why you ask? Well first of all because most of us spend more than 90% of our days indoors. Two-thirds of North Americans watch more than 2 hours of TV per day, one of which could easily be swapped out for some good old outdoor fun. And studies show that people are spending less and less time outdoors in parks or forests than in previous years. Besides, spending time out in nature has all kinds of great health benefits!

The Benefits

  • Vitamin D production – Sun exposure on our skin (sans sunscreen) leads to the production of the all important anti-cancer nutrient we should all strive to obtain optimal levels of. Remember there is a difference between RDA’s and optimal nutrient levels.
  • Improved mood, better clarity – Try it, you just feel better when you get outside, no matter how crappy your day was, a little bit of sunshine and fresh air can go a long way to lighten your mood. Also, higher levels of Vitamin D are linked to a better mood.
  • Gets you moving – Did you know being inactive kills as many (or more) than cigarette smoking? Check it out
  • Get fresh air – Our indoor environments are becoming ever more toxic. New products (like flooring and cabinetry) off-gas chemicals like formaldehyde and VOC’s that we are continually breathing in. Dust and mold are also common indoor irritants.
  • Get in touch with nature – In an increasingly industrialized world, it is sometimes difficult to feel nature at all. We leave our homes, get in our cars, get to work, then do it all over again in reverse, it’s time we squeeze nature back in to the mix somewhere.
  • Boost energy – Getting outside gets you moving, which will inevitably will increase your energy. It’s better than a cup of coffee, seriously!

Well I don’t know about you, but I have certainly convinced myself to get up off my (significantly larger) pregnant butt and enjoy the great outdoors. I do hope you join me :)

All the best,

Sam

a salad a day july

A Salad A Day July - nu roots nutrition

Monthly resolutioners, are you still with me? Look at all we’ve accomplished so far…

Have you noticed how we have been alternating between lifestyle and nutrition goals? Well this month, it is time for this super foodie to strip it down to the basics. We need veggies people, and lots of ‘em! I find enforcing the “minimum of one big salad per day” rule extremely helpful in ensuring I (and baby) receive the 5-10 cups a day we are supposed to be getting. Plus, it’s summer (er…sort of), time to stock up on raw veggies while they are abundant and exactly what our bodies tend to crave right about now, just start listening. Sometimes your body says “spinach” and you hear “Twinkies”. Whoops! Talk about mixed messages… ;)

Although I must admit, even I get bored of the same old, same old when it comes to salads. So I am going to do my best to boost up the creativity in the salad department this month and share with you some of my (hopefully) fabulous creations.

Here are some tools I use to create wonderfully complete and delicious “salads as meals”.

The Salad Builder

The most common complaint I get about salads is, “they don’t fill me up”. Being married to a man who eats his weight in food every week, I’ve learned to come up with ways to boost it up with things like nuts, seeds, grains and superfoods to fill you up and make sure your body will be more than satisfied! Unlike when you eat a Twinkie and are starving again minutes later…

Use this ‘Salad Builder’ as a guideline when creating your salads, it will help to ensure you are getting the right mix of carbohydrates, healthy fats, and protein to make a salad a sustaining meal.

  • Greens (at least one) – kale, spinach, arugula, green leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce basil, cilantro, parsley
  • Veggies (at least 3) – broccoli, tomatoes, cauliflower, carrots, sun-dried tomatoes, green onion, red onion, celery, bell peppers, etc.
  • Grains (optional) – quinoa, millet, buckwheat, brown rice
  • Nuts (optional) – almonds, brazil nut, walnut, pecan, macadamia nut, cashew, etc.
  • Seeds (at least 1) – hemp seed, pumpkin seed, sunflower seed, sesame seed
  • Protein (optional, but recommended) – beans (any cooked or sprouted), organic & free range meat and/or cheese (chicken, bison, hard-boiled eggs, turkey, goat’s cheese, etc.), tempeh, nuts, seeds, etc.
  • Fats (at least 1-2 tbsp) – cold pressed, virgin oils (flax oil, hemp oil, olive oil), olives, avocado
  • Edible flowers (optional) – nasturtium etc.
  • Sweeteners (optional) – dried fruit (raisins, goji berries), fresh fruit (pears, strawberries), unpasteurized honey, pure maple syrup

Me, eating flowers in the garden

Dressing staples

Keep some of these around the house to mix and match and make your own salad dressings that are fresh, additive free, healthier & cheaper than buying pre-made store bought dressings. Just shake em up in a jar and pour on top of your salad right before you eat.

  • All natural Dijon mustard
  • Bragg’s soy
  • Unfiltered apple cider vinegar (or other vinegars)
  • Miso paste (gluten free if needed)
  • Tamari (gluten free if needed)
  • Fresh lemons, juiced
  • Healthy oils (flax, hemp, sesame, toasted sesame, walnut, extra virgin olive, etc.)
  • Spices & herbs (fresh or dried)
  • Nutritional yeast (dairy free, cheesy tasting substitute – full of energy boosting B Vitamins)
  • Garlic
  • Fresh ginger
  • Hot sauce (Franks, etc.) or cayenne pepper (stimulates metabolism)
  • Green onion
  • Pickled onions (just put thinly sliced onion is apple cider vinegar and salt and they’ll pickle within 5 minutes!)
  • Pure maple syrup or unpasteurized honey (small amounts)
  • Kelp powder – a seaweed superfood! (or sea salt)

Now let’s get our salad on!

Happy July…can you believe it is already July?

Sam

yoga june

iStock_000018612474XSmall

Hello fellow resolutioners! I am so sorry for the delay in this post, I have already got started on my June resolution, but haven’t had the chance to fill you in yet. It seems difficult to pull myself away from the beaches in Spain to get some work done these days….yeah, it’s a spoiled brat kind of problem, but I apologize nonetheless!

Yoga! YAY! I am stoked about this month’s resolution. I’ve been an sporadic wanna be yogi for years now, but it is one of my fave physical activities that has been as good for the mind as it has been for the body. My problem – I am a little inconsistent my muscles are super tight so if I go a week (or even a few days) without it I stiffen right up and feel I have to start from scratch. I have done only one yoga challenge in the past, it was 30 days of 60-90 minute classes…and it was an absolutely amazing month! I’ve been meaning to do another ever since, so here we go!!

This month’s yoga challenge includes:

  • A minimum of 30 minutes of yoga (or whatever stretches I can get this growing belly into) daily. I am aiming for at least 3, one hour (or more) classes per week and a mini home session for the other days.

I plan on combining going to my prenatal yoga classes (in Dutch – I’m lost for most of it), using yogaglo.com (which is fabulous for all types of yoga, all levels and all lengths of time) and my own repertoire and mishmash of poses my body feels like doing. Hip openers seem to be a daily necessity for these ever expanding baby bearing hips.

A great start for new yogi’s would be a simple 7 sets of sun salutations first thing in the am. The beauty of this is that it costs nothing and can be done from the comfort of your own home.

Let’s get into why you should be participating in this month’s challenge…

Benefits of Yoga

  • increased flexibility
  • increased strength
  • decreased stress & anxiety
  • more mindfulness, living in the moment
  • connection of mind and body
  • consciousness of breath, decreased respiratory rate, which means lungs function more efficiently
  • there are also a whole slew of potential health benefits for conditions such as cancer (increased red blood cells and less nausea during chemotherapy), depression, pain, anxiety and insomnia, fatigue and mood
  • reduce heart rate and decrease blood pressure (therefore decreased risk of heart disease)
  • increased circulation therefore increased nutrition and oxygen to organs for healthier skin and brain
  • decreased pain, especially back pain – a complaint of 80% of North America
  • weight loss – yoga can actually help reduce binge eating and control your eating habits
  • decreased menopause symptoms, studies show less hot flashes in menopausal yogi’s
  • decreased asthma symptoms
  • anti-aging
  • and the list goes on….

Benefits of Prenatal Yoga (for all you other soon to be mama’s)

Make sure you are always doing safe prenatal poses (some are not recommended and can be harmful), I highly recommend taking a class or using yogaglo‘s online prenatal classes during this time.

  • learn breathing techniques to help during labor (deep breathing keeps adrenaline down, high adrenaline during labor may mean less oxytocin, which is needed to help labor progress naturally and can prevent the need for pitocin, the synthetic version used to induce labor)
  • learn pelvic floor exercises to prepare you for child birth and boost postpartum recovery (maintaining muscle integrity ‘down there’)
  • decreased back pain
  • classes increase the opportunity to meet a like-minded supportive community
  • squatting can shorten the birth canal by 30% (but dont practice after 34 weeks or it may induce labor)
  • it may help flip a breech baby or get your babe into an ideal birthing position making labor “easier” and reducing the need for medical intervention

I hope you choose to continue to follow along this month to reap these benefits and tell me all about how amazing you feel.

Resources:

chia fresca may

chia fresca

It’s that time of the month again…no, not that one…resolution time! May’s resolution is extra special because it involves our very first product giveaway. You can enter to win one of my favorite wholesome breakfasts Chia Goodness Cereal by:

  1. Liking nu roots nutrition on Facebook (and hey why not twitter while you’re at it)
  2. Liking Ruth’s Hemp Foods on Facebook (maker of Chia Goodness Cereal)
  3. Telling me why you love chia seed or what type of recipe you love to use it in. Post it in the comments section below (on this blog post &/or on the Ruth’s Hemp Foods Facebook Page)

Please note that you must be in North America to enter (sorry to any of my new Euro followers).

May’s resolution is designed for your digestive system. It will keep you regular, (combating both constipation or diarrhea) boost your digestive system and provide a mild form of detoxification through the bowels. Hey, you might even shed some weight too! Just drink 1 glass (or jar) of chia fresca everyday!

Chia Fresca

Chia fresca is a Mexican beverage traditionally made with water, citrus, chia seed and a little sweetener (if needed).
As mentioned many times previously on my blog, chia seeds are my #1 fave source of fiber! A must for all, especially those of us who are pregnant and suffering the woes of a slowed digestive system…

Why it’s so amazing

First off, the sourness of the lemon will jump start the whole digestive process, just think about tasting it and you will start to salivate. This sets off a chain reaction of increased stomach acid, higher enzymatic output, and more bile purged from the liver – just trust me when I say this all translates to “better digestion and elimination”.

Secondly the chia seeds, an incredible source of water soluble fiber, cruise through the digestive tract sweeping up all the bile and giving it a first class ticket to the toilet where it belongs. Bile is our liver’s way of getting rid of toxins, old hormones and cholesterol – without enough water soluble fiber we just reabsorb all that gunk and it continues to circulate, yuck! This is why fiber is always recommended for those with high cholesterol. Also, it is great for weight loss because of many are carrying around a bunch of old poop in the bowels (as lovely as that sounds). I believe this chronic constipation may be due to the high gluten and dairy diet of North Americans, both of which can be extremely congesting on the gut.

And finally, superfood chia seed themselves get digested for all their amazing nutritional properties like anti-inflammatory, blood pressure reducing omega 3 fats. They also have more calcium than milk, more iron than spinach and a whole array of other essential nutrients like potassium, copper and zinc.

How to make chia fresca

  • 1 L pure water (ideally spring or filtered)
  • 2 tsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 to whole lemon, freshly juiced
  • few drops of liquid steva to sweeten (optional)

Mix all ingredients together in a 1 L jar or other container with a lid (so you can shake it). Let sit for 15 minutes, shaking occasionally and the chia will develop a gelatinous layer around it, so it slides down your throat nice and smooth. Drink throughout the day, though this is best enjoyed in the morning for maximum benefit.

I look forward to hearing all about your favorite uses for this amazing superfood in the comments below. Feel free to post a link to your favorite recipe if you have one! Don’t forget to follow all the contest rules and enter to win Chia Goodness Cereal!

Happy chia fresca May!!!

Here are the rules again. You can enter to win one of my favorite wholesome breakfasts Chia Goodness Cereal by:

  1. Liking nu roots nutrition on Facebook (and hey why not twitter while you’re at it)
  2. Liking Ruth’s Hemp Foods on Facebook (maker of Chia Goodness Cereal)
  3. Telling me why you love chia seed or what type of recipe you love to use it in. Post it in the comments section below (on this blog post &/or on the Ruth’s Hemp Foods Facebook Page)

Please note that you must be in North America to enter (sorry to any of my new Euro followers).

 

i am beautiful april

feel good concept

My April resolution is all about positivity! I am going to start by surrounding myself with positive affirmations and repeating them out loud twice a day, probably before brushing my teeth so I don’t forget. The inspiration for this resolution was yet again my amazing Naturopathic Doctor sister (Dr. Mom, ND). In fact, I believe a lot of the credit must go to her fantastic man, for really bringing it into practice in her life. I was also reminded by the movie “Hungry for Change” about the amazing Louise Hay and the affirmation “I accept myself unconditionally right now”. If you haven’t heard of Louise Hay, I highly recommend you check out louisehay.com or read “You Can Heal Your Life”.

The idea behind affirmations is using the power of positive thinking as a tool to bring about positive life changes. I believe that by saying my affirmations twice a day for 30 days, I will start to notice positive shifts in my thought patterns. Out with the old self sabotage and worry, in with the new, nothing but positive thoughts.

Now back to my sis and her man…when I stay at their house I am surrounded by positivity everywhere I look. I wake up to phrases like “good morning you fabulous creation” written right smack dab in the middle of the bathroom mirror, where you’d have to be blind not to see it. I have to admit, I was a little freaked out by it in the beginning. It was weird to me to be inundated with affirmations like that, but by the end of my 3 week stint at their place last year (when my handsome nephew was born) I was feeling great. I’d wake up believing I sure am one damn fabulous creation!

If confidence is something you struggle with, this month’s resolution is a MUST! My sis and her man will be the first to admit, confidence is not something that is lacking in their household, and I mean that in the most loving, and admirable of ways (notice I said confident and most certainly not conceited…there is a big difference). We must be confident in order to achieve, to love ourselves fully, love those around us, and accept that we deserve nothing but the best.

I must confess, I myself have been struggling with a few negative emotions during pregnancy. I’m a small girl, used to being a small girl, who is growing by the second and it’s freaking me out! I (embarrassingly admit) that I have been comparing myself to other pregnant girls I know thinking “I’m bigger than she was at 15 weeks”. Seriously though, I haven’t had a belly this big since I ate gluten 3 times a day before realizing I had a sensitivity to it. But now I must remind myself I am pregnant, not fat.

I have dealt with many clients and friends during their first pregnancy and many of us go through the same thing. Why do we do this self sabotage thing? It is absurd! I have now decided the faster and bigger I grow (within reason of course) the healthier and happier my baby is! And thankfully my husband constantly reassures me that it must be because my body is  so good at being pregnant :) Also, I’ve been feeling so good these days that I get concerned that something must be wrong with the pregnancy (yeah, ridiculous!). I should feel crappy during pregnancy, shouldn’t I? So what’s wrong? Is everything okay with my baby? Needless to say, some of my affirmations will include “our baby is thriving” and “I am pregnant, and beautiful”.

So what do you do? Well again following my sister’s lead, they have 2 pens that can write on mirrors or windows, one pink, one blue (his and hers, oh so cute) or just use post-it’s, whatever! Now, write anything positive, anything you have been struggling with on your bathroom mirror, or make it the first thing you see when you wake up and the last thing you see before you go to bed. My sis and bro in law not only write their own affirmations, but notes to each other reassuring one another that they are loved, and are an amazing parent, etc., it really is beautiful to read.

Well I’m off to plaster positivity all over my house, I hope that you do the same!! You are beautiful and you should tell yourself every day!

PS – I am feeling amazing and I believe I have Superfood Smoothie March to thank! For those of you who participated I’d love to hear about your experience!!

Much love,

Samantha Peris

my resolution revolution

Meditation

my resolution revolution

As a holistic nutritionist and a person who is always striving to better myself, the world and the lives of those around me, instead of a traditional resolution, this year I’ve opted for 12…er…I guess it’s 11 now. It’s probably not what you think. I’m not going to do them all at once, but rather I have decided to implement one healthy habit per month that I will complete everyday for that month.  Experts say it takes 21 days to form a habit, so I’m putting that to the test.

First off, you start one month later than everyone else! As a chronic procrastinator I am usually one step behind, but hey no time like the present! Besides, I was busy moving across the world Dec 30th…okay, I will stop with the excuses.

Actually, I was inspired by my brilliant sister, Dr Mom ND and her “Live Like You Give a Damn” project, where she is taking on 12 healthy habits she recommends to her patients and leading by example.

So what do I expect to get out of this? My intention is not to become a master at all 11 resolutions, or maybe not even 1. It is simply to be open to something new, something positive and something I have wanted to implement for some time. My goal is to see and feel what effect these practices have on my mind, body and soul and, hopefully, afterwards I will continue to practice at least some on a regular basis. That’s it – no guarantees, no overwhelming pressure, just try it and see what happens.

February: daily meditation

This is a tough one for me. I have tried to meditate many times in the past, but without much success. Nearly every attempt I’ve made, I’ve either been quickly distracted by incessant, rambling thoughts, or I get cold, or there is some obnoxious song repeating itself over and over in my head. It usually isn’t long before I just give up.

So why meditate at all? For one, studies have shown that it reduces all kinds of stress (physical, emotional, psychological), improves health in so many ways, boosts fertility, enhances immunity and slows down the aging process, to name just a few of the benefits. (For more, read this awesome article by Food Matters). I have known about the advantages of meditation for years and have often recommended it to clients, so now it is about time that I start taking my own advice.


So what is meditation anyway? Meditation does not necessarily mean siting with your legs crossed, fingers together, singing “hum-men-a hum-men-a, hum-men-aaaaaa”. It can be as simple as sitting in a quiet space with your eyes closed, or even open, and beginning to rid your mind of the constant chatter. As the saying goes, “you control your mind, your mind doesn’t control you”. But for most of us living in this overstimulating, often chaotic world, this simply isn’t the case.

Over the course of this new year, please join me in implementing month-long healthy habits (even if you are focusing on a different habit than I). I would love to hear how they are changing your daily life, for better or worse. I plan to write regular updates about my journey – the ups and downs, the challenges and the changes, so please check back regularly and send me your feedback in the comments section below.

Happy meditating…hum-men-aaaaaaaaa!!

 

Helpful links:

Benefits of meditation & sample guided meditation

Yoga Glo – unlimited online yoga and meditation for just $18 US/month.