Posts in Category: Holistic Wellness + Fitness

Choose Your Own [Adventure]: Paleo Meatza or Shepherd’s Pie!

Have I just done something blasphemous? I’ve certainly broken a cardinal rule of some sort. I truly don’t mean to offend! Some of you may know of the connudrum our family faces with having to slash our meat intake becasue my husband has gout (which means more legumes and grains/wheat which are not the greatest for my underactive thyroid or in being pre-diabetic.)

Then there’s the whole other can of worms that I opened up in watching Cowspiracy, (all about Animal Agriculture and the enormous, devastating affect it has on the planet) the other night. Suffice to say, I’m confident that the universe is telling our little family to eat less meat when we can. So sometimes we go vegetarian, sometimes we eat local, free-from meat and eggs. We’ve successfully squandered down to very little dairy and will be switching to almond milk 100% for a test run. I’m researching viable plant-based vegetarian meat replacement options that aren’t going to wreak havoc on my digestive system and aren’t highly processed with tons of crap added into them. I’ve been told “good luck with that.” Anyways, the world’s all a big mess and we’re just doing what we can, what’s right for our family. I think? Yea, watch that documentary. If you dare.

So if you’re a vegetarian and you’re not totally offended by my pairing of paleo versatility with this recipe – enjoy. Play around with it, mix things up.



Choose Your Own [Adventure]: Paleo Meatza or Shepherd's Pie!
Recipe type: Paleo or Vegetarian
Cuisine: Oh The Humanity!
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
What You'll Need
  • BASE:
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cups sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped (big chunks fine, it's just going into a food processor or blender
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup fresh basil (pressed down, loose leaves)
  • ¼ cup fresh oregano
  • 4 tbsp. hot water or veggie or bone broth
  • 3 pounds organic grass fed ground bison or beef *or* 3 pounds vegetarian ground round
  • 8 spears of dino kale, washed and shredded
  • 1½ cups of grass fed sheeps' feta *or* 1 cup shredded Daiya cheese alternative combined with 1 cup nutritional yeast
  • ½ teaspoon pink Himalayan sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 large head of cauliflower, trimmed, chopped and steamed until very soft
  • 2 large (or 3 or 4 small) sweet potatoes, peeled chopped and steamed until very soft
How You Do
  1. Blend onion, garlic, sundried tomatoes, carrot, basil, oregano and broth (or water), till a chunky paste is formed. (Use a food processor or standing blender with a tamper.) Set aside.
  2. Combine paste and ground bison or beef (or ground round) and mix with your hand to combine.
  3. Brown in a cast iron pan, only takes a few minutes
  4. Place steamed cauliflower, sweet potato, pink salt and ground pepp in food processor and puree until smooth
  5. Shuffle meat (or non-meat, HA!) mixture into a 9 x 13 inch baking dish (I use a glass Pyrex one)
  6. Layer shredded kale on top
  7. Layer cheese or cheese alternative and nutritional yeast on top
  8. Scoop and smooth out mashed cauliflower and sweet potato over beef mixture, sprinkle with the smoked paprika
  9. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes
  10. Serve!


Throwback Thursday: Snow Days

The 1st year we lived in this sweet town close to the water, I had a newborn and a toddler with a husband who toured a lot as a musician, 6 weeks of which were spent in Norway during the dead of said winter. THAT was fun. I thought to myself many a time as I bulldozed my way through the drifts, no way, never again. The next year we hooked up snow removal and the winter was light. So we said to each other, not next year!

But….isn’t it romantic? Isn’t it lovely? All of this snow? Had you pronounced such open-ended questions a year ago, I would have given you the side eye. Living in the north is not for the faint of heart during the winter. With snow that accumulates hip deep you best invest in a snowblower, snow removal service or reaaaalllly enjoy shovelling snow. Or, have teenagers. Or amazing neighbours. People who you let in and share your story with, the good and the bad.

The beginning of winter last year met us with sickness and injury. I had fallen and cracked a couple of my ribs, seriously messing up my arm and hip. My husband had just been diagnosed with chronic gout, was on a cane and had to keep his foot elevated a majority of the time. And because we are neighbourly, and because I share in our stories, our neighbours knew what we were going through. Time and time again, our driveway would be ploughed by the kind souls on our street. I can remember one early morning in particular, when I was aiming to get the kids to school on time and there was no backing out of our garage. Stupidly, I attempted it and got stuck. I began digging my way out …ribs throbbing, mind beginning to melt with frustration. Life just felt like a series of slams and I could not keep up.

I got out of that driveway and my husband and I focused on the hard work at hand. Complete health and wellness overhaul. Lots of relationship ho-downs and show-downs. In the end, our love prevailed and we met each seemingly insurmountable mountain and series of tasks, determined more than ever to get better, get fit and get ahead.

How are we today? Well, for starters, I’m romanticizing over the snow even though my hip is throbbing from falling on an ice chunk tobogganing with my kids (being clumsy, apparently, is something I can’t shake). My husband had his first gout flare-up in almost a year over the weekend, forcing us to completely cease-halt on a fitness program we had begun together. A year ago, something like that would have really gotten him down. It would have kept him from riding his bike to the train station, something he truly loves doing. We probably would have started fighting. There must be something to this personal development and self-care that we’ve been focusing on both individually and as a couple, because instead of going to separate rooms to binge out on Netflix, in attempts to blot out the dark, cold grip of winter, we lit some candles and did some PiYO instead. And we got a little sweat on, we laughed and we just ENJOYED ourselves.

I’m no spiritual guru, but I’m pretty sure we’re onto something. And we do it all for our kids just as much as we do it for ourselves.


Access Your Awesomeness: Women’s Winter Weekend Retreat

A friend and client of mine is doing amazing things as a holistic practitioner and in the realm of work that I do as a Heath and Wellness coach, I’m inspired! Have you heard of Access Bars? I myself don’t know nearly enough about it, but I am eager and hungry to learn more. The science behind energy medicine is something I can get behind!


For those of you who are local and just so happen to be divinely feminine, you are cordially invited to a retreat that Amanda Trudeau of ATC Wellness and her Access partner Darlene Bast-Tindall of The West End Yoga and Energy Therapy Centre, are hosting in February at the Anishinabe Spiritual Centre just outside of Espanola, Ontario!

Ask yourself, when was the last time you felt like you were in the flow and all was well with the world? What if you could have more of that? What if you could learn to operate from Choice rather than Circumstance? What if you could experience more Joy, more Ease and more Freedom in life?

Join us for a weekend (that’s right I’ll be there, hopefully in a capacity that I’ll be sharing more about later! Really excited!) of exploration and discover simple yet profound tools to transform your life, relationships, health, body, career, and more.

PicMonkey Collage
When was the last time you played, laughed, giggled, tried something new or had a child like sense of amazement? We invite you to move your body, play with colour, get crafty and creative. I’m not going to give away all of the details, but be prepared for fun workshops, speakers, deep learning experiences and delicious food!


Wellness Wednesday: Women Who Talk About Money and Self-Worth

firmly rootes
The stats are in and this New Year is definitely full of promise, with equal parts intrigue and challenge! Just the way I like it. The Arrow Tribe, (which is the team that my Beachbody mentor founded), finished #35 in the network out of 400, 000!!! That’s the .01% cream of the crop, and it comes from one of the fastest growing industries, yes … MLMs. In an arena in which there are some who give Network Marketing a bad name, Beachbody shines. It’s a company largely dominated by women, empowering other women to take back their health, how it’s defined, and how we can earn income and help and mentor others; from anywhere we damn well please.

2015 marked many changes for me both personally professionally and with my health. Not only have I discovered a career path that I can merge all of these things together with the areas in which I shine (social media, marketing, graphic design, writing, helping others, healthy recipe development), but I’m growing my own enterprise in one of the only businesses where women make dollar for dollar what their male peers make doing the same thing. Where women talk about money and self-worth, everyday liberation, conquering fears and creating success on their own terms.

I’m proud and honoured to be amongst this sisterhood of badass ‪#‎bossbabes who are genuinely creating their lives by design. It was scary when I took this leap (and continually so) to put myself out there so that I might reach others, like me, who were tired of the struggle: our own self-care on the back burner, our dreams and goals weighed down by the expectation of what a ‘proper’ career looks like according to generations before.

When a series of products are LEGIT changing people’s lives in all of these deeply necessary and powerful ways, passion and fire replaces doubt. Self-confidence is sparked and freedom is possible.

What is your time worth? Your health? Your story? Your family’s security? I come from a history that some might (and have) judge and think I could never make it as a leader, or as a successful businesswoman. I’m kicking those stereotypes to the curb and sharing the very same tools that my mentor shares with me, with the small but mighty tribe of ‪#‎WellWarriors‬ that I am lucky enough to mentor and guide.

Unleash that delicate monster within! It doesn’t matter where you come from, it matters where you go! Below is a little video I share in my Inside Coaching Sneak Peek groups that I run each month if you want to know more about the coaching opportunity is:

What other perks are there to becoming a coach before the end of January?  I am beyond excited to announce the Success Club Trip that Beachbody Coaches can EARN throughout 2016; to be awarded come 2017 … Punta Cana!

Many of you may not know what that means, but basically, it means holding a standard of helping at least 3 people a month in the very same ways we work on our own personal development, wellness and fitness goals. Before I became a coach I didn’t travel very much, although the wanderlust in me is strong. Money, taking time off work, and then since having children, trying to figure out childcare or family friendly options … there were just too many obstacles to make it happen.

Now, less than a year after I made the leap into this helping profession I’ve earned a retreat to St. Augustine Florida that I went on in November, I have $200 left of the $1200 awarded leadership requirements required to earn a cruise to Jamaica + Haiti in March and back in May 2015 (just 3 months after becoming a coach), I was awarded a free ticket to Summit, which our big industry conference in Nashville this July! I share all of this with you because I want you to know that it’s DOABLE. I don’t have any magic fairy dust or unicorn glitter within making me more special in my specialness to achieve these things. DREAM JOB, indeed.

I struggle and have my off days just like anyone else. Now I get to do it alongside others who get me, and accept me and challenge me to succeed and grow. And I do it part-time, from my laptop, while taking care of family, kids and home and pursuing my other creatively professional endeavours. I mentor other women who have full-time jobs and are carving out one to two hours a day to give their Beachbody businesses all they’ve got. Some are single moms who juggle more than I will ever know.

So…Punta Cana, here I come! Who is coming with me? You should be a coach by January 19th to get in when registration opens, lest wait-lists are your jam. Don’t second guess yourself. You’ve no idea of what you’re capable of (I didn’t.) The sky is the limit and a life by design is the life for me. What about you?

Email me today me for more info, or fill out my coach application to hook-up a spot before this dream-trip fills up!


A Lot Can Happen In a Year: Our 2015 Transformation

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It’s amazing how much can happen in a year. How thoughts and patterns and routines can change when an elevated level of self-care, self-love, momentum and drive takes front seat. How dreams can change. How people can change. This past weekend was a biggie. For my both my husband and I in little ways, but mostly for my husband in some big, defining, empowering ways. Trevor and I have spoken about me sharing some of his story with you all today as we’re both firm advocates in Mental Health and Wellness. This doesn’t just encompass nutrition, fitness and personal development. Or career goals. A large part of both our stories, both past present and in what lies ahead in our future, has and always will include a strong focus on mental health. I’ve always been more vocal (publicly) about the mental health part, concerning myself.

#TransformationTuesday: So much more than weight-loss

#TransformationTuesday: So much more than weight-loss

Many of you know pieces and layers of my story, and if you don’t, if you’re new (welcome), you can click the link embedded here. We’re here to focus more on Trevor, my husband today. Because he said I could. Not only that, he felt good about it, in letting me share about his long-term battle with clinical depression. He hasn’t always been so open about this part of his life. This year has been a turning point for him, his confidence and in how he excels in the day-to-day, in so many incredible ways. And in following with the generous, thoughtful, surprising way his colleagues and employer recognized him at his holiday work party this weekend, I too, shall follow suit.

We entered into the weekend feeling rather frisky. Perhaps overscheduled with events and parties, we’re also blessed with great friends who kept our kids overnight so that we might partake in the hotel room that was included with Trev’s company party soiree. For those of you who don’t know, Trev has been a long-time web developer. He’s the senior dude at the firm he works for and when I say we were feeling frisky, it began with aspects a little more shallow than what they evolved into over the course of the night. We felt damn good dressed in our sexiest and finest. Deservedly so. We’ve worked hard in shedding some pounds together. Usually, I would have a lot of anxiety leading up to such an event and agonized over what to wear. Silly to some, perhaps – but it’s the truth. I wasn’t comfortable in my body and I felt like crap. My panic attacks in social settings were debilitating and painful. I never knew when one was going to happen. This past weekend was the first time (in a very long time), where none of that happened. Does it all revolve around my weight-loss? Nope. But it sure hasn’t contributed to me feeling MORE crappy.

2014 and 2015: Side By Side. Liking The Changes.

2014 and 2015: Side By Side. Liking The Changes.

You see, we’ve BOTH been working hard on our nutrition and fitness over this past year, not just me. But I’m the coach, so I share in my journey. I don’t talk about Trev’s much. But the man deserves some kudos! He’s lost over 40 pounds and the REAL cause for celebration is that he’s been off of his meds for going on a year and a half now. The major contributing factors to this combined transformation has been the tone that I’ve set in what we eat at home sure, but the brunt of the work has been all him. He wakes every day before dawn rises, blends his vegan chocolate shakeology, and hops on his bike to the train station. Every dang day, he rides to and from that station. Every dang day he blends up his superfoods. Not only that, he’s really cut down on his meat intake with the diagnoses of gout that he received last December. And beer … as opposed the nightly event that it was, it is now something he only treats himself to a couple times a month. (Beer – alcohol in general – and meat are the biggest triggers to a painful gout attack.)

He is far from strict with his diet. He likes his snack foods at work, (which became glaringly apparent as he was presented with a ‘quilt’ made out of the snyder snack things he crushes while coding. Yea, his colleagues collected them in secret). When I first became a Beachbody coach he was skeptical. About all of it. About it being an MLM company, the cost of shakeology (he used to be a meat and potatoes dude who would scoff at the word ‘superfood’ or ‘supplement’.) As a few months passed and he watched how I was transforming in all of these intricate ways, (weight-loss, increased confidence, rocking time management, diving into personal development, building community and helping others, building income and mentoring other women), his interest became more than piqued. He, like no other – knew how I struggled. He knew that what was happening for me was LEGIT. Soon enough, he was crushing his own daily shake upon the approval of our Naturopath who had prescribed him to a generic protein powder shake anyways when he had to go completely vegetarian, (back in the beginning of 2015 for a few months).

King of the Snyder Snacks

King of the Snyder Snacks

***AGAIN: I do not tout that shakeology is a meal-replacement or a miracle product. It’s simply a quick way to get dense hit of nutrition for those we see and reap the benefits of having as such in their lives. Increased energy, more time to think about food and snacks (TRUTH), hauling one’s ass out of bed, etc. Trevor is a prime example. Much like me, the man loves his food. But what’s changed for us in the past year is that we are eating much more regularly and healthfully. As in 6-7 times a day. So no, we aren’t only eating 3 big meals a day and replacing one of those with shakeology. He’s not big in the kitchen as I am, and mornings are rushed. His morning shake gives him the natural boost of energy and nourishment his body needs to get out the door. Whole foods are embraced and consumed but a mere couple of hours later. 

You guys, in all of the (many) years that Trev and I have been together, never have I seen him with such drive and determination. Not just in how he manages his career, but in his own health. The common thread that ties all of this together is that which we’ve weaved in partnership. US. We’re doing it, we’re making these changes, we’re creating new habits and routines TOGETHER. We lift up and support one another and even I myself am surprised with where these changes have been taking us. Our relationship is stronger, of course. This is just a natural side-effect, yet perhaps the most important one.

XXL (2014) to L (2015), Reigning Supreme

XXL (2014) to L (2015), Reigning Supreme

Listen, we’re far from perfect, we still have our struggles. Depression still rears its ugly head for Trevor now and then, but nothing like it used to. We firmly believe that it’a combination of all of the changes and attention to personal self-care he/we have implemented into our lives that contribute to more joy trickling into our lives on the regular; rather than struggle, stress, and strife. I don’t have to go into great detail explaining that exercise is commonly used to combat depression, as are natural supplements, attention to nutrition and eating specific combinations of food to keep serotonin levels in check.

Oh, and not to make it a side-note or anything, but Trev received more than a ‘Snyder-Snack-Quilt’ on Saturday. He was presented with a generous bonus to compliment being chosen as, ‘Rockstar Employee of the Year.’ A first for the company, something inspired right from the very depth of creativity and unique badassery that is Trevor. Once upon a time ago, he was musician who toured extensively as the bassist for an amazing band, and held down his own web development business. A couple of years ago he decided to take the great offer he received from ITS Dispatch, (the company he currently works for), for financial reasons and because it was just too much juggling. And he missed his family. He was away a lot. Anyways, the company knew this, and thus, the ‘rockstar’ addition to the company’s employee of the year award. This is SUCH a huge change. When he was touring, he did contract work for a company that constantly devalued the importance of family and pushed him way too far over holidays, and had the nerve to consistently drop subtle (and not so), subtle hints about him cutting his hair and shaving his beard, such things that they considered ‘unprofessional looking.’ Uhm, he worked FROM HOME then. I digress. But I just thought it was important to put that out there, because yet again, there goes Mister Trevor Mills, squashing stereotypes about what a person with clinical depression can and can’t be successful at, and how a man should look in order to be considered professional and successful. BOOYAKA.

My whole point with that little tangent is that this company is so damn cool for recognizing Trev’s unique way of functioning, that they granted him permission him to bring in his bass to jam out on when wading through difficult code, and a PIANO to tinker on as well. I mean, C’MON. Something tells me I’m not the only one who thinks he’s incredibly inspiring. I thought you all might too.

Tis' The Season

Tis’ The Season

What’s on the horizon for this crazy couple come 2016? We’re going to begin doing Beachbody’s newest program together, The Masters Hammer and Chisel (beginning in January!) to see how far we really can take this whole bonding through elevated self-care and personal development thang! You can totally join us if you want, but I can’t promise we’ll behave. (And if Hammer and Chisel isn’t quite your jam, I have a bunch of other workouts I can offer you or we can build you a custom hybrid schedule!) Click down there to get plugged in for January immediately, or email us: to connect over a virtual coffee and find out more. You can check out some of my client testimonials and reviews, here. 

hook me up All photos courtesy Laura Rossi Photography!

8 Tips To Maintaining Self-Care and Exercise During The Holiday Season

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Now, these tips would be well-suited for any busy, millennial woman who is trying to incorporate daily exercise and healthier eating habits into their day any time of year, but I thought they would be especially helpful over the holidays when everything we’ve committed to seems insurmountable and keeping up with our own self-care quickly falls off the list.

This is my first time, ever …. as a girl, a woman, a mom, a work-at-home coach … anything … that I’ve stuck to a regimen involving elevated self-care and reigned in nutrition for myself over the holidays. So if you and I have a few things in common (as you’ll quickly ascertain as you read through this list of tips), then you’re welcome.

1. All the BB girls say HEY-O!

Particularly when digging into a workout sequence involving plyometrics (which means HELLA jumping), you’re gonna wanna double up on the workout bras. I don’t care how good your brand totes its support strappin’ capabilities. Double up on that shit. Lest you don’t mind the boob-face-slaps. That full-on happens. There are days I tuck into this particular one, the PLYO extreme (included in the 21 Day Fix Extreme which I’m now tackling), that I forget to double up on the full-support workout bras. Crazy things happen and I just go with it because changing once you’re into it just ain’t gonna happen. At least not for me. Next Monday, I swear, I’ll remember.

2. Celebrate Your Milestones

Since we’re talking about burpees, it should be mentioned that there once was a time that I could not rock a single burpee without being extremely shaky and unable to get past a couple unless I wanted to do a face plant. It’s taken me NINE MONTHS (yep, that’s right) do be able to do 2 full reps (30 seconds each, or 1, 60-second rep) of burpees without modifying that action. I persevered by modifying the heck out of those burpees while I slowly built up my stamina and capability. No shame, only PRIDE. I say this to all of you who are afraid (like I was) to begin and stick to a solid/challenging workout program. Today? Burpee tuck jumps were my favourite move of the day! Not because I necessarily love them like I love a dry Grey Goose martini, but because it feels AMAZING to unlock this level of fitness badassery.

burpee tuck jump
3. Use Dry Shampoo Like a BOSS
I get asked all the time if I wash my hair every day with all this sweating I do. NOPE, I do not. For a couple reasons. Ain’t no one got time for that, being front and centre. Secondly, my hair is thick, coarse and prone to being dry and frequent washing would not be my friend. So I embrace the many virtues of dry shampoo. It does exactly what it’s supposed to. It sucks up all that sweat and my trick to not having any residue is to take a few extra minutes to really work it through with a brush, massaging my scalp with the brush after spraying in. I spray my roots before hopping in the shower to let it do its absorbing thang, and then brush my hair, tossing my head upside down. I give it a good go with the blow dryer, concentrating at the roots and my hair comes out so fresh. So clean. Sort of. No shame here either.

keep it simple

4. Recovery Food is KEY
As many of you know, I’m an avid shakeology fan. It’s simple really. Where else can I get 70 superfoods and consume the equivalent to 6 bowls of greens no matter what other craziness I’m up to in a day? It’s a guaranteed way to ensure that my body is getting the fuel that it needs especially when I’m pushing it to extremes with my workouts.

5. Eat Smaller Portions, More Frequently
Over the course of a busy day – I used to skip breakfast more often than not and ended up starving by lunchtime. This resulted in poor lunch choices and depending on my stress or to-do list that day, it could go all downhill from there. I’m not a big weekly meal-planner, but I do keep my fridge and pantry stocked with simple foods that I can grab on the go or make quickly for lunch and snacks. Many of my clients who don’t work from home embrace the food prep action on Sundays so they are well-set up throughout the week. SO IMPORTANT.

6. Don’t Ignore Your Core
I had an ‘AHA’ moment a couple months into this whole life-changing business and that was how essential my core was/is to the whole process in a workout. Most people know that, but in case you haven’t gleaned … fitness guru I am not. I was not maximizing the benefits of my workouts until I engaged my core with EVERY. SINGLE. MOVE.

7. Personal Development Is Essential
DO IT. Not the cheesy stuff – the stuff that resonates with you. There are several authors/speakers/coaches whose particular style and experiences, prose and personal storytelling that speaks to me and I gravitate towards them. There really is something and someone out there for everyone – maybe this list will help! Thinking you have no time for that? Podcasts are all the rage and you can listen to them from anywhere. I like downloading or streaming them from my iPhone when driving in the car. Done, done and INSPIRED.

8. Just Do It
Today I had 50 minutes to press play, get my sweat on, shower and slap on some make-up. Instead of humming and hawing about how I didn’t have time, I just rocked it, did my dry shampoo thing, hopped in the shower, tossed on some clean clothes and boogied through on my 5-minute ‘natural’ make-up routine. And I don’t wear make-up every day, I’m just not that woman. But now and then – I like a little extra joozh.

Why Wait For The New Year? Coaching Sneak Peek Opportunity

WHY NOT YOU 2 Do you ever dream of becoming more than the limiting self-beliefs you’ve constructed for yourself? Someplace forgiving, honest, limitless and filled with joy? We’ve all overcome obstacles in life. Once, I lived in a reality wherein I never thought I would get unstuck. Unstuck from not being able to take ownership of my relationship with myself. My relationship with food. My confidence. My self-awareness. My turbulent past in struggling with addiction and years of self-medication stemming from a childhood that saw much vitriol, anger and sickness. Those generational cycles of abuse are hard to crack and I know all too well their long-lasting psychological and spiritual impact.

Truth? I thought I wasn’t destined for much in life and while I’ve grown and immersed myself into the love of growing my family and within professions revolving around art and helping others, nothing ever really clicked for me. With as much strength and grace that I can muster, I work hard every single day to steer clear of those systemic cycles. I thought that the residual of all of my life experiences added up to a finite way of being, where I would float between just scraping by: emotionally, financially, physically … to clearer, brighter strands of living healthfully, wild, happy and free. Careening about as if on a roller coaster, to say the least.

It wasn’t until 8 months ago, when I took a giant leap of faith in myself to finally address some of my skeletal stragglers in my closet and recent health diagnoses. I never spoke of having a food disorder before. People were surprised. I sure as hell didn’t talk about my own self-loathing and body-hate. Or my crippling panic attacks in any random social setting. I knew I had to dig deep and DO THE WORK. It started with honesty. I started with embracing the art of storytelling that has released layers of unwanted skin so many times for me in the past. I curled up into digital storytelling like the comfort of a soft and much-coveted blanket. That leap of faith that I took? It entailed so much more than embracing and sticking to an exercise regime or finally addressing of my binge-eating. I was called upon to help others in the very same ways that I had (have) continue to struggle. I was encouraged to believe in myself and share my story, in the hopes that I would inspire others who were struggling immensely on the inside. And on the outside. I was taught to FINALLY believe that I am so much more than my past. Coaching has become a gift that provides me the opportunity to continue to discover who I am, what my unique gifts and strengths are. It has afforded me gifts of jewellery and trips yes. It has also given my family increased financial stability so that I can help provide for my children an enriched life full of love, healthy foods, opportunity and room for emotional, spiritual, artistic and academic growth. Coaching has given me a ferocious community of women who give deeply, intelligently and LIKE A BOSS.

So in case you’ve been wondering, THAT’S what being a Beachbody Coach looks like. It doesn’t take anyone with extra-special-special-ness. We’re not a bunch of women who want to look good in a bathing suit, fluttering about taking selfies and obsessing over our food portioning. We’re all attracted to various types of people in life, those who mentor us, those who we connect to in sisterhood, those who lift us up and teach us things in skilled ways and about love, healthy relationships, finances and trust.

What if I wold you that coaching opens up a gateway to a fusion of all of those things? Where we develop a business mindset and value our family’s prosperity just as much as we do on helping others, giving back and  living a holistically charged life of wellness and intention?

Right now I’m gearing up for my BUSIEST season yet: of moving full throttle in this soul-centred business. As much as I may cringe at the notion of New year’s Resolutions, I know that in my industry, January is our busiest time of year. That means I’m looking to mentor 5 other women in the very same ways I have been.

A coach is really someone on their journey inspiring others to do it too. We make it our jobs to discover our greatest selves. So no, it isn’t easy. It’s some of the hardest work you will do with incredible rewards. Ask yourself: could this benefit your life? Could it help you overcome mental blocks or obstacles you’ve had in your life? Could it help you financially? Ask yourself just how much value this opportunity could add to your life.

What else is there to say? All I can do invite you along on this incredible journey. I’m looking for teachable and coachable women, who want to see how coaching can help them. Women who are passionate about helping others. If you already think you have it all together and that this couldn’t benefit you in any of the ways I’ve been talking about, then this opportunity is not for you. We aren’t looking for each other. If you ARE looking for change in these vast and victorious ways then you should comment below or message me.

I’m running a FREE, no-obligation ‘sneak peek into coaching’ event beginning November 18 for 3 days. I’ll be answering any and all questions like:

“What does it cost and How do I earn an income without being salsey?”

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Wellness Wednesday: The Truth About My Before and After Selfies

5 months ass
As a holistic wellness coach, I can see the pressure such things as ‘before and after’ selfies can put on people. Especially women. You can be anyone on the internet. Pop a hip, wear a proper fitting swimsuit or bra and underwear, use complimentary lighting, work that camera angle, apply a filter … the list goes on how one can make themselves look better in pictures. I’m not necessarily sure what’s WRONG with any of those things. Wearing clothes that fit? Yes, I do that. Do I choose complimentary camera angles when taking selfies? Yup, I do that too. I have a weak chin that I’m fairly self-conscious about, but I’m learning to embrace it. Maybe. As in, I rock that camera angle when I want. No camera angle, including vaulting a tripod from the ceiling to shoot from, will disguise the visual proof that my face has indeed slimmed down from all the ass-kicking workouts I’ve been doing the past 7 months. Do I use filters for my progress shots (which is what I prefer to call them)? Yes indeedy, high contrast, muted black and white is my fave for the side by side action. Does it carve out definition that isn’t there? Don’t think so. Isn’t that what photoshop is for? Do I jut out my hip, twist my torso and suck it in? Yes and no. I stand tall. I stand proud. I stand strong. I get my swerve on. Shoulders back, head held high and I let go of all those years of shame and embarrassment. I rock the self-inflicted photo-shoot, sure … but I don’t go to extremes. I like my curves, I like keeping it real and my tummy is soft in it’s its newly anchored relationship with its core. Sucking it all in would only add to my inner conflict on self-image, self-worth and how I share my story.
Our bodies are diverse. Not flawless. I’m choosing to embrace that instead of portraying an image of perfection. I’d rather portray an image of health. Of being strong over skinny. I’m not afraid to admit anymore that I’m damn proud of how far I’ve come and no amount of filters or hip poppin’ is going to fake it for me.

Are Before and After Selfies Demoralizing? Shame-Inducing?
It’s all in how it’s done. Am I fisting a bottle of hyped up energy drink, held next to my SWOLL ass while bent over a bathroom sink? No. Am I now living the jet-set life because I workout? Uhm, nope. Before and after pics can be especially annoying when one struggles with eating disorders, emotional eating and/or food addiction, to have someone’s pictures in your social feeds showing you how they’re apparently winning at life more than you. I get it. It took me far too long to admit to myself that I had to make a change. It was easier to snicker and make assumptions about ‘those type of women,’ than to actually get to know them or their stories; or even be real with myself about my own struggles. The truth is, I was overweight and spent way too much time trying to fit someone else’s vision of what healthy should look like most of my life. My relationship with my body will be constantly evolving. I share that unraveling publicly because I know there are other women who struggle in some of the same ways I do. I put myself out there with visuals and in how I articulate myself, because it’s a part of the work that I do in building relationships, gaining new clients and helping other women, just like me. It’s also deeply liberating on a personal level. If you’re not a fan of what I do or what I share, there’s always that little unfollow button you can hit or you know, you can even ‘unfriend’ me! No hard feelings. To tackle the discourse that’s happening in how the fitness industry is perceived is a challenge I meet with gusto. I work in an industry designed to capitalize on the insecurities of many women. And yet, there are exceptions to this ‘norm’ as within ANY industry. The landscape of health and wellness professionals is evolving and growing; and women, in particular, are taking the reigns. We’re aligning ourselves, teaching and supporting each other and taking back gatekeeper status on our body ideals, healthy body image and body positivity.

Fitness Lifestyle IS NOT Anti-Feminist
Feminism and the female body have long been linked. There is absolutely NOTHING anti-feminist about wanting to be healthy. (Let’s just cut straight to the point about that.) Healthy in body, mind and soul. Not all of us can have all three of those things, but it doesn’t mean we can’t work damn hard to attain our best version of that golden trifecta of living the good life, right on into our old age. True long-term healthy living does not mean punishing and denying oneself, to live up to media’s fucked up portrayal of what women (young and old), should look like. That’s a manipulative and unrealistic set of ideas that have been thrust upon us for decades. It means working hard for the health of our minds and bodies, just like we work hard in our relationships, our parenting, or careers; to achieve financial stability, intellectual satisfaction, and enriching, rewarding life experiences. For a long time and in many ways still, women are seen as failing in their duty to be visually pleasing, (while walking the fine line between ‘ladylike’ and titillating), to an audience used to viewing them as public property. From a young age, we … that is all of us — men and women — internalize the idea that women have an obligation to be attractive, particularly if they plan on making a habit of speaking in public or venturing into places where people can see them. When I post before and after pics or progress pics … I am indeed being seen. By more people than I have a clue about. This means, perhaps, that my message is being heard to and that I am contributing to the movement of women who are taking back their natural bodies.

Exercise Is About Much More Than Looking Good
Endorphins are real. Exercising for half an hour does not make me feel worse. In fact, after a workout I feel joyful, strong and ready to tackle my day. So. The haters gonna hate, but I soldier on. If you’re the type of person who is like, ‘I love my body the way it is and I don’t need to fucking exercise,’ then fabulous! Imma keep rollin’ the way I do, as you do yours. I like feeling happy and healthy. I like (more than) helping others get that same quality of life too. There are a plethora of reasons why healthy eating and exercise is important. I’ve found what my WHYS are and showing those reasons to the world via the internets enables me to help others figure that out too.
7 months beyond

The Canadian Dairy Association’s Chocolate Milk Marketing In Elementary Schools Is BOGUS [VIDEOS]

So. The Elementary School Milk Program (AHEM: Chocolate Milk MARKETING CAMPAIGN, because their sales go way down without the inclusion of said chocolate milk), is getting rather brazen and authoritative this year.

Did You Know?

“Chocolate milk has no more sugar than ‘100% Fruit Juice!”  This is the whole ‘Milk in Schools’ slogan slapped across pamphlets that went home with most public, elementary aged school kids this week. I’m just gonna tweak that nifty little tag-line a bit for a minute here. Amuse me. Come along for the ride. “Chocolate milk has the same (if not more) amount of sugar as ‘100% Fruit Juice!” There. Much better. Let’s break this whole juice is healthy concept down first. It’s not just soda that is full of sugar. Juice can be just as high in sugar as soda. Even the ‘100% fruit juice’ labelled ones, with no extra sugar added. Fruit juice contains no fibre, and the small amounts of vitamins and antioxidants in even the 100 % pure fruit juices do not make up for the large amount of natural sugar content. Read that article linked within. It’s a gooder.  I tried to find the chocolate milk pamphlet online to link to, no dice. All I could find was the more generalized (perhaps LESS CONTROVERSIAL, ahem) milk in schools brochure. But as you can see from my picture above – they are blatantly promoting chocolate milk all on its own.

The Truth About Marketing

Unfortunately, food and beverage manufacturers aren’t always honest about what is in their products, keep in mind. The fact is, the fruit juice you find at the supermarket may not be what you think it is… even if it’s labelled as “100% pure” and “not from concentrate. There are 30 grams of sugar in flavoured milk (chocolate, strawberry). Flavoured milk also has other ingredients you won’t find in the plain stuff such as colours, flavours, artificial sweeteners, which definitely don’t make it more nutritious. Yes, chocolate milk is damn tasty and I prefer to give it to my kids occasionally as a treat. It’s not being given to them every single day as a healthy food choice.

About 1 in 3 North American children are overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is the first generation of kids who are expected to live a shorter life than their parents. By 2050, 1out of every 3 North Americans will have diabetes at the rate we’re going. This is a fundamental problem that no one is talking about. I’m paying attention and not listening to everything being marketed to me as touted being healthy for my kids and we’re teaching our kids about food brands and labels and how what they see on all of the food being marketed towards THEM aren’t honest. With this pamphlet coming home from school, we had to have another talk about chocolate milk being a TREAT, not an everyday healthy drink to consume like the advertising and slogan on the pamphlet would have their sponge-like little minds believe.

So I don’t mind having these talks with my kids. I believe that kids are being told some of the biggest lies they will ever hear in their lives by government and the food industry. It kind of boggles my mind though that we’re the ones who get strange looks at the grocery store say for example, when one on my kids pipes up asking, “look, mama, these gummies say they have vitamins and 100% fruit juice in them! That’s MARKETING right mama?! Is that true?” We’ve taught them to question marketing and to know that they are being sold lies. If we did not teach them this, they would believe what they’re seeing and reading. Kids are so trusting and innocent in this way. Just as we teach them about ‘stranger danger’, we teach them about sneaky marketing. You can think we’re zealots or go overboard with the whole healthy food consumption thing, all that you want. The stats don’t lie. MARKETING DOES. Especially advertising geared towards children. Take for example the chart that I’m looking at right now on my dining room table. It compares the nutrients of white milk and chocolate milk VS. “100 % apple and orange juice.” They list them all, calcium, vitamins D, A and C, including protein, fat and carb content. They don’t say that most of those ‘nutrients’  are injected into the milk and are synthetic. They very conveniently leave out the Bovine growth hormone content that is given to cows in the U.S. to make them mature faster and produce more milk, or the inhumane treatment that happens to cows on non-grass fed dairy farms everywhere.

Canada … Ontario, Get With The Times!

The biggest thing they’ve left out of that pretty little chart? THE SUGAR CONTENT in flavoured milk or 100% fruit juices. How convenient. Kind of sneaky in fact. We as a society are ready to analyze and question what we’re being sold in other areas of our consumption (clothes, cars, houses, etc.) We doubt, we question, we can see when we’re trying to be bamboozled. We do the research to make sure the product we’re buying is legit. Why on EARTH wouldn’t we do that when it comes to the FOOD THAT WE EAT?!

Look, I get it. Milk in schools is an easy, accessible way to help children get trough their day. So let us leave it at that, with plain old milk leaving the flavoured ones out. If the excuse is that kids are more inclined to drink chocolate milk over the plain, well yea! Of course they are. When we give them that choice. When we give them that power over their own nutrition. It’s up to us as parents to begin at home with these teachings.

Advocates like celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and his Food Foundation movement, have stood by his Flavoured Milk campaign. His message is clear: the more sugar we consume, the more we tend to want. If even milk has added sugar, what doesn’t? Part of getting everyone to better eating is getting everyone familiar with more wholesome, less-processed foods. Milk closer to nature is a better choice than milk with added sugar and colourings and flavourings. Every eating occasion is an opportunity to promote health or oppose it. If schools take a lead role in promoting health, there will still be much work to do outside of schools, but school then becomes an important part of the solution, rather than contributing to the problem.

And I agree. Adding flavourings and sugar to milk offers no nutritional benefit. The harm of the sweetened dairy products, besides the added calories, is that the palate changes so that the drive for sweetness increases. No matter what Oliver’s critics might say. Speaking of which, his flavoured milk campaign is SO 2011. He’s since moved on to lunches that are served in schools and food education for kids, parents and teachers alike.

Socioeconomic and Demographic Accessibility

The hardcore truth of the matter is that some kids go to school without being fed breakfast. Or, if they have been fed breakfast, it was a bunch of sugary crap. Every single day. (Again, I’m talking about consistency here, not the occasional treat). And much the same continues throughout their day when they pull out snacks and lunch. Very little whole-food based food with REAL (not synthetic) vitamin, mineral, antioxidant and protein value. So milk is a simple, accessible (cost effective) choice for many families to jump on board with to supply their kids with at least SOME nutritional food value to keep going throughout their day. I personally know that most of the vitamins touted to be in milk are not naturally sourced. As in they’re synthetic forms of those vitamins and ADDED into milk to make it more marketable. A one stop shop to get a whole fleet of vitamins, minerals and food supplements: vitamin’s A, B6, D, B12, calcium, protein, riboflavin, niacin, phosphorous zinc. Healthy carbs and fats. (Questionable, i.e.: skim vs. regular, whole milk vs. 2%, organic vs. regular, etc.)

I realise that our family comes from a place of privilege wherein we (by working our butts off to be able to afford whole foods) can provide our kids a nutrient dense diet every day. There are several reasons that we view this as a high priority in our budget, which stem from cultural beliefs surrounding food and water being sacred, being medicine; core values and health issues that my husband and I have. The truth is that there are a plethora of other ways for even low-income families to feed their kids simple, whole-food based meals and snacks that provide all of the nutrients that milk and flavoured milk are advertised as having. But knowing and understanding this takes LEARNING and education for parents too. Which is why some North American schools have stopped including flavoured milks in the milk programs and have workshops and book informative public speakers to come in and provide hands-on learning tools about how to feed their families on a budget, exposing truths about sugar and industry marketing.

My reasons for writing this post aren’t just to rant and rave. I’m hoping to generate online discourse and proposing that parents who are interested in tackling this issue, DO SO. It is much easier to turn a blind eye to the horrifying statistics on childhood obesity and diabetes and continue on as we were. Buying the hype. At what cost? We need to rally together, support one another, regardless of socio-economic and demographic barriers. Start up a movement in your school. Research speakers and workshop options. Put together your own presentation and make a call-to-action with your school’s principal to present at your next School Council meeting. Share your knowledge with other parents and students in an approachable, helpful way. Make suggested alternatives to flavoured milk easy, price friendly and accessible. Be the motivation. Igniting community awareness and interest in a convenient manner is key. We can’t just TELL parents they’re doing something wrong. How pompous, right? In essence, they aren’t. We’re all doing the best we can with what we have. With what we’ve been taught sold.

When industry partners up with the government (the Elementary School Program for example, or say – the Canadian Food Guide, which is a whole other bucket of worms, but take a comparitive look at our food guide compared to the Brazilian Food Guide ), the thought of challenging that strong-hold of power is overwhelming. I get it. Writing this post took me nearly two hours and I have many more (hours) ahead of me if I hope to get chocolate milk sales banned from my kids’ school and help other parents and kids understand why this is a GOOD THING. No, I don’t have lots of time on my hands. I work full-time too. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. We all have our own daily intricacies, problems and issues to deal with.

Don’t Just Take My Word For It …

Sugar, in and of itself has become a widespread, controversial subject. Please watch the documentary “Fed Up”. It’s a highly (scientific and evidence based) researched (albeit disturbing) look at sugar as the INDUSTRY it really is. Placing private profit ahead of public health. Watch the trailer below.

Learn more, know more.

What You Can Do

➵ Be friendly. DON’T BE PREACHY. Make it fun. Perhaps start off with signing up to have your school celebrate Food Revolution Day 2016 and use The Flavoured Milk campaign a springboard for small steps.
➵ Print and share the easy to read PDFs from Jamie Oliver’s Food Foundation, Toolkits for Change under “Flavoured Milk.’ There are 3 sections (The Facts, Find Support and Create a Campaign.) Email my post to begin, if you want, to your school council members and principal. Post it on FB and tag your neighbours, your friends, etc. Find your allies at the school and join together.
➵ Contact your school council chair, your principal, your ministry of education (where the campaign comes from). This might be considered causing a ruckus depending on where you’re at demographically. I guess you need to be comfortable with that. Or be okay with being uncomfortable. I’m going to be communicating with my kids’ school council that I’m already a part of and the principal to make my own presentation.
➵ If you can get your school’s principal and council members on board, call an info night session for all parents to attend and hand out the resources linked above, put them on a overhead and use them as talking points to all parents in attendance. Better yet, make a mini, easy to digest power point presentation using these resources to accompany it. Send the printables home with the kids too, just like that chocolate milk pamphlet was. They may not be printed in colour on fancy heavy weight gloss paper, and that’s okay.
➵ Contact ME to use and modify my power point presentation (coming soon!). Sign up for my newsletter to find out when. Or simply use Jamie Oliver’s resources to create your own, that’s what I will be doing, he makes it easy.

This may be one small thing that you do – in eliminating flavoured milk being sold at your kids’ school. With the power to invoke long-term change; in how parents and kids know about and understand nutrition, how neighbourhoods and school districts to come together as a village, recognizing the importance of food education and diet-related diseases that we are facing with this generation.

Wellness Wednesday: 8 Reasons To Drink More Water

Are you getting enough water each day? Dehydration can actually cause headaches, muscle fatigue, tiredness and even make you feel hungry when really you are just thirsty! TRUST. Most people aren’t drinking enough of it (pop, tea, those “vitamin” waters, and coffee don’t count!).

To find out a good estimate of how much you should be drinking each day take your current weight and divide it by two. That’s how many ounces you should be aiming for! It’s tough at first but in a few days you’ll notice yourself feel less cravings, feel more radiant and energized. You’ll actually start to crave water! I know I do. It’s a pretty cool thing when you get over the hump of ditching other drinks, to come to the day wherein a simple glass of water refreshes and revitalizes you and lifts your spirits up.

➀ Fluid Balance
Roughly 60 percent of the body is composed of water. Drinking enough H2O maintains the body’s fluid balance, which helps transport nutrients in the body, regulate body temperature, digest food, and more.
➁ Body Fuel
Sweating through exercise causes muscles to lose water. And when the muscles don’t have enough water, they get tired. Hydrating with water helps you push further.
➂ Clearer Skin
Certain toxins in the body can cause the skin to inflame, which results in clogged pores and acne. Water flushes out these toxins and helps reduce blemishes and breakouts.
➃ Kidney Function
Our kidneys process 200 quarts of blood daily, sifting out waste and transporting urine to the bladder! Yet, kidneys need enough fluids to clear away what we don’t need in the body. Cheers to that!
➄ Fatigue Buster
One of the most common symptoms of dehydration is tiredness.
➅ Pain Prevention
A little water can really go a long way. Aching joints and muscle cramps and strains can all occur if the body is dehydrated. Suffering from headaches? Could be that you’re not drinking enough water.
➆ Improved Digestion
Drinking enough each day helps keep the colon happy. Keeping thing moving along smoothly. You pickin’ up what I’m laying down?
➇ Wellness Warrior
Water may help with congestion and dehydration, helping the body bounce back when feeling under the weather.

Water holds the memory of all life. It comes before life, in order to carry life we must have water for our water to break to birth. From gestation to embryo and beyond. We live in water in the womb, in our mothers. Water is akin to the blood that flows through our veins. When we talk about the water in the earth, we talk about the water that flows through Mother Earth. It’s the carrier of spirit (along with air). There is not life without water. It’s the essential ingredient of life and because of this, we shouldn’t separate the importance of it from how it soothes and nurtures our spirit as well as our bodies.

This is why when Indigenous cultures fast out in the bush, we go without water to encounter the intricate state of our mind, body and soul. Essentially water is integral to our well-being and sustaining life. It brings us back to respecting Mother Earth and being so grateful for water!

8 Reasons to Drink More Water- with logo

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