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health coach

My 10 Day Jugo Juice Challenge

There is no question that juices and smoothies are one of the most common ways for people to stay on track with their healthy lifestyle. Whether someone is at the beginning of their health journey or they are already a wellness expert, chances are they incorporate either a smoothie or juice into their daily lives.

What I love about this ongoing health trend is the simplicity and accessibility. It really is so easy to make your own smoothie and additionally there seems to be more and more juice bars popping up around town. Yet with this easy access, we still need to be careful with both what we put in our own smoothie and where we get them from. Just because it’s made with fruits and vegetables does not necessarily mean it’s healthy.

When it comes to juices and smoothies, I am much more of a smoothie girl. I love the thickness, adding lots of superfoods and proteins and making it a meal. I’m also a big supporter of making your own at home. However, let’s be real, it’s not always that easy to do. 

Up until the beginning of this year, I was working in a corporate real estate office with a very consistent routine. I would work out at 6am before heading to work and had a significant commute. Timing was not on my side so some things had to give. For me, that was having breakfast at home. Luckily for me, my office had a Jugo Juice in the building and it quickly became my every day breakfast.

As I mentioned, not all juice bars are created equal. So what do I look for? Fresh ingredients, healthy protein powders, superfood supplements and endless options. Jugo Juice met every one of those criteria. Although they have so many menu items, I rarely strayed from my #PB Protein shake which was made with banana, protein powder, peanut butter and unsweetened almond milk. I am a creature of habit after all.

So when Jugo Juice challenged me a few weeks ago to have one of their smoothies or juices a day, every day for 10 days, I jumped on the chance. I mean, smoothies were already a part of my daily routine, I’m already obsessed with Jugo Juice plus I love a good challenge.

It should come as no surprise that on Day 1 I went for my beloved #PB Protein shake. Wow, I forgot how good it was and got brain freeze from drinking it too fast. I knew, however, that I should branch out over the next 9 days and take advantage of Jugo Juice’s wide array of options.

I tried everything from their elixir “Good Shot,” to the strawberry banana “Classico,” to, of course, my namesake “Kale Nut.” When I decided to actually spend some time looking at the menu, I was surprised with not only how many different flavour combos they offered, but the amount of superfoods and niche ingredients you don’t find at other quick-service juice bars.

Jugo Juice has everything from ginger and turmeric, to maca and matcha. They also had ingredients that I always put in my homemade smoothies, like chia seeds, flax seeds and hemp hearts. I’m all about incorporating healthy fats and fibres such as these into my smoothies when I am consuming them as meal replacement or even just as a healthy snack because they keep me full longer and help with digestion.

As a personal trainer who is always on the go, I am guilty of either forgetting or not making time to eat. What I loved about participating in this challenge was it helped keep me on track with eating every few hours and allowed me to refuel my body during my long, active days.  Since the smoothies were filled with a good balance of protein, fats and carbs, my late-night sugar cravings were also kept in check and I could tell my metabolism was working at its best. Add in the lack of mess and clean up in the kitchen and I was one happy camper.

After 10 days of testing, I must say, much to my surprise, I have a new favourite flavour. I doctored up their Kale Nut a little bit by taking out the fruit juices it comes with, adding in some unsweetened almond milk, peanut butter.. Playing around with all the different ingredients was super fun and I recommend giving it a go to kickstart or continue your health journey! 

July & August Favourites

Seriously, how is it September tomorrow? Can we just have 5 more minutes of summer, pleeeaaasseee? I know I am not alone when I say the summer flew by! So fast, in fact, that I totally forgot to publish my July faves post! I honestly feel like I blinked once and now it’s Labour Day weekend.

As much as I love summer, I am a huge sucker for fall. Colourful trees, chunky sweaters, pumpkin-spice everything. It almost makes living in our crazy Toronto climate worth it…almost. But seeing as it is still hot out and slightly light out (unless you’re me and wake up at 5 am), I am going to hang on to summer for a few more moments and give a list of the products that I absolutely loved using in July and August.

Favourite Beauty Hack:

5 Minute Face Kit by Haley Bogaert Face

The insanely talented Haley Bogaert has done my makeup so many times for different events, including my wedding, and every single time she does it, I’ve just never felt prettier. So when she came out with her own makeup line, I knew it was going to be genius. I had the pleasure of trying out her 5 Minute Face Kit this summer and now it is my go-to not just for every day, but for special events as well. Available in light, medium and dark shades, the complete kit comes with blush, lipstick, eyeliner, bb cream, highlighter, a flat brush and brow gel, which Haley is famous for. With a quick and easy application of these key products, you can achieve a fresh and glowy look in no time. This is perfect for the on-the-go person like myself and with the cutest packing, it makes for the perfect gift.

Favourite Pantry Staple:

Trader Joes Everything but the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend

I know photos of this little bottle of seasoning have been flooding your Instagram lately, but it is for good reason. It actually tastes exactly like an everything bagel. I have been putting it on pretty much anything savoury these days; from eggs to avocado toast to salad. I’m a huge fan of spices as they are an easy and calorie-free way to add a ton of flavour to your meal without the use of heavy, sugary sauces. We don’t have Trader Joes in Canada so I picked up a bottle last time I was in New York. Now if there was only a way to make an actual calorie-free bagel for me to eat!

Favourite Face Mask:

Origins Flower Fusion Sheet Masks

Just like a bouquet of flowers, Origins has created a face mask for any occasion. If your skin is dry, go for the rose. If it’s oily, try the orange-radiance. Too much sun? Try the lavender. These no-mess masks are super easy to apply and work quickly. Best part is you actually see the results right away. Also, if you are a sucker for cute packaging, then these masks don’t stand a chance against you. I love masks in the summer as the warmer months are pretty harsh on my skin. Between the sweat and sun and I also love giving my face some extra TLC and a mask is one of the easiest ways to do it.

Favourite Purse Staple:

Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Organic Hand Sanitizer 

 

I have been looking for a good, clean hand sanitizer for a while. It sort of sounds like an oxymoron though. How can something that clean really kill bacteria off our hands? Well, the answer is, I’m not sure how clean it really is. I mean, the hand sanitizer only has three ingredients: ethyl alcohol, water and essential oils so I’d say it’s a pretty good option. I use it often as I am always in my car, using my phone, handling equipment at different gyms, touching clients’ sweaty bodies – you get the picture. So I keep one in my car and one in my purse. My favourite thing about this is the smell, though. Anything with laender immediately calms me down and, I’m not going to lie, sometimes I just spray it and breath it in (is that really bad?) if I’m having a stressful moment in the car and can’t reach my roll-on essential oils fast enough. 

Favourite Hair Product:

Redken Pillow Proof Blow Dry Dry Shampoo

You may know I just had the chance to try this product only about a week ago but I have used it almost every day and am kind of obsessed. Here’s the deal. Redken came out with a dry shampoo that has dark pigment in it. What does that mean? For all of us dark-haired ladies, it won’t leave a white residue at the tops of our head! Can I get an amen? I also learned something interesting about dry shampoo in general. Did you know that, like a deoderant, you are supposed to apply it before you go workout or do whatever it is that’s going to mess up your fresh hair? I had no clue. For me personally, since I wash my hair a lot due to the constant working out and sweating situation, I have been applying it to my just washed and dried hair, before I style it. Not only do I get a good amount of volume but I also find it helps prevent it from getting greasy faster. 

 

 

 

5 Healthy Gut Tips

By now you are probably very familiar with how important our guts are to our overall health. After all, it is said that the gut is our “second brain,” potentially having as much of an effect on our mental health as our physical health.

The scary thing is, for most of us, our gut health is seriously lacking. From the moment we are born our once sterile microbiome is polluted with bad bacteria from the air we breath, to the things we eat and the products we put on our bodies.

While we will never be able to repair our guts to full perfection, there are many steps we can take to help restore and promote healthy bacteria in our bodies. 

Here are five of my favourite tricks that I am trying to turn into a habit so I can treat my gut with the utmost respect it deserves:

Probiotics

Probiotics are an easy first step in healing your microbiome. They are flavourless, easy to store at either room temperature or in the fridge and for most people, have limited to no side effects. I personally look for a brand with over 50 billion good bacteria cultures. 

Apple Cider Vinegar

ACD has a ton of gut-healing properties. My favourite is that it aids in digestion. Try adding 1 tablespoon to a glass of water and drinking it first thing in the morning, before you eat anything. This will allow you to better absorb the nutrients from your food. 

 

Water

I can go on and on about the benefits of drinking water. But in prioritizing your gut, water is crucial to getting things moving and promoting healthy bowel movements. In this case, it’s not just about the quantity of water but the quality too. Make sure to drink clean, filtered water without the use of chlorine, as chlorine can actually be counterproductive and kill the good bacteria in our guts.

Anti-inflammatory foods

It’s a no brainer that anti-inflammatory foods such a dark leafy greens and healthy fats are vital to a healthy lifestyle and it is no different when it comes to your gut. Swapping out our inflammatory foods like refined sugar, fried food and dairy for healthier choices isn’t just about looking better on the outside but your gut with also thank you for it.

Sleep

You know that anxious pit in your stomach when you are stressed? Well this is the perfect example to show you how stress literally affects our gut. There are many ways we can try and manage our stress but sleep is one of the most important. Getting enough rest each night will help relax your nervous system during the day, ultimately leading to a more peaceful state of mind (in your head and gut!).

* All photos from Google Images*