Happy Monday!!!

This week I encourage everyone to let go of any fears of the unknown and go for it!  Make things happen!

“If opportunity doesn’t knock – build a door.”

-Milton Berle

A cute and hilarious video to start the day with a smile on your face. Just one of the wonders of the world..

 

Happy Monday Everyone!

E

Love Life, Love Yourself & Yoga On!

Ever since I started to incorporate yoga into my life, I cannot imagine a day without my mat. Not only is yoga a complete workout for the body, it is one of the best remedies for our fleeing minds. The wonderful thing about yoga is that with every practice, you discover something new about yourself. It could be simple or completely life altering. Over time you also become friends and foes with various yoga poses. But no matter what your relationship is with a certain asana, you can’t deny the healing that they bring to our physical and spiritual selves. Each one works a different aspect of our being and helps us deal with things like stress, anxiety, and tension. On that note, I wanted to share some of the poses that helped me deal with the common obstacles of daily life. May they be just as helpful to you ūüôā

1) The pose for Letting Go: Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)

Sometimes letting go (of whatever it is we’re holding on to) is the toughest obstacle we face. It seems easy in theory but hard to accomplish in practice. Use this pose as a tool to release old tensions. I find deep breathing deeply to the count of 4 makes this pose even more effective. Especially if you use your exhales as a vessel for the clearing all negative thoughts and emotions.

2)The pose that alleviates Stress and Anxiety: Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

Our daily lives don’t always go as smooth as we’d like them to. In this sense, stress and anxiety slowly become a part of our lives. This is how all of our mental and physical health problems begin. The bridge pose is great as it calms and slows down the mind. I love to take this pose if I’m feeling restless or anxious, as it really has soothing effects on the brain.

3)The pose to Renew and Refresh: Shoulder Stand (Salamba Sarvangasana)

The Shoulder Stand is one of my favourite poses because you can feel it’s effects immediately. Our body is not used to being upside down, but it loves it! While giving your feet and lower part of your body a break, this pose is great if you’re feeling tired or need an extra boost of energy.

 

4) The pose that Sets an Intention: Lotus (Padmasana) 

Focus and clarity are important in setting goals, and achieving the things we want out of life. Yet somewhere in between shopping carts, laundry baskets and deadlines we lose sight of what’s important. The lotus pose (modifications include half-lotus or even cross-legged with a pillow to prop you up) is an amazing pose that centers and clears the mind of all junk. It is also a great way to control of your thoughts and set a daily intention. With this pose we can return to our priorities and set our goals on the things that matter.

 

5)The pose that alleviates soreness and physical tension: The corpse (Savasana)

If physical relaxation is what you are looking for, then there is probably no better pose than Savasana (in my opinion). This pose is great for releasing muscle tension and tightness in the body. To achieve the best results,¬†stop your mind from wandering by focusing on your breath and allow yourself to sink into the ground.If you enter into the pose for a long time and are able to fully release your muscles, you’ll actually feel like you’re floating ūüôā

 

6) The pose that alleviates Headaches: Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)

Unfortunately headaches have become an all-too-common part of our lives. While regular yoga practice can definitely help with long term effects, I find this standing forward bend can sometimes be a quick fix.¬†While it’s not guaranteed to make your migraine ¬†magically disappear, this pose can definitley help by ¬†improving circulation and inducing a calm state of mind.

(To learn how to do these poses correctly I recommend checking out The Yoga Journal website. They have quite the archive of information on everything yoga!)

So why do I yoga? ¬†I do it because I love it! ¬†What’s your reason?

Happy Stretching & Healing! Namaste ‚̧

E

Live Beautiful, Live Clean!

The search for great beauty products is never easy. Some can dry out, others can be too fragrant, some don’t live up to their claims while others are filled with harsh chemicals that are dangerous and sometimes even carcinogenic. So I made the choice to be conscious of my purchases.

However, when I started experimenting with organic and natural products, I often found they didn’t work at all. My blonde hair was washed out and brittle, my hands were always waxy and my soap didn’t foam. But Live Clean products definitely came to the rescue. I first picked up a bottle of their body-wash from a local drugstore as a desperate attempt to avoid the name-brands. The “Green Earth” 600-ml bottle was the only natural option available at Shoppers at the time, but at a mere $5.99, I decided to try it out.

That evening my quickie shower turned into a lathery, 30 minute soak-fest. Quite frankly I was very satisfied with the bubbles, fresh scent and level of cleanliness this body-wash brought me. I also didn’t have to use half the bottle to achieve this result. My skin felt baby soft and totally refreshed. So I jumped to find out more about the brand, and the products that they carry. I discovered that the company is Canadian and that they are quite dedicated on keeping their products affordable and completely sustainable. Almost all of their products contain 98% natural derived ingredients, are completely vegan, and are not tested on animals.

So I must say that ever since that fateful shower, I’ve been addicted to their entire line of products including their super-hydrating shampoos, conditioners and body lotions. These range from yummy berry scents to warm aragon oil(all natural of-course). Lovely ingredients such as Eucalyptus, Aragon oil and Lavender also provide amazing results.

I’ve discovered that Live Clean products are readily available throughout Canada, so if you check out their website you can find out where they sell in your area. Their website also features local “green events” and conservation tips (pretty impressive for a beauty line). I really like these guys, their message and what they are doing!¬†Definitely a thumbs up!

Here is their website: http://live-clean.com/

 

Happy Hydrating and Clean Living!

E

Monday Blahs?

If you are one of the many people who happens to have the case of the Mondays, keep reading!

To wash away the most painful day of the week, I’ve decided to start off every Monday ¬†with an inspirational quote to get you moving and a tip for insuring a fabulous week ahead! So smile away your Monday “Blahs” with some great motivational words and a video or photo that will get your week off to a positive start! (I also suggest a cup of your favourite green tea)!

So STOP hating Mondays and start embracing them! Here is this weeks Happy Monday! post:

“The secret of health for both mind and body is¬†not¬†to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly”

-Buddha

We can all use a little human contact XO…

Happy week ahead & Namaste ūüôā

E

Location, Location, Location!

For the third time within a year I am relocating to a new home. I have learned to deal with the scary and stressful aspects of moving, so it should be easy right? Incorrect. Minus the U-haul cargo vans, expensive moving guys and friends who are tired of helping me lift heavy boxes due to my “vagabond” ways, I am also leaving the hub of everything-green, everything-eco, and everything-organic. Although Kensington market will always be a quick streetcar ride away, it will never be just around the corner. So where’s a girl on the run going to find the perfectly ripe and inexpensive avocado? Panic mode on.

Before I completely sounded the alarm I decided to check out my new hood, just north of Christie Pits. What I discovered about the area, was surprising and utterly satisfying. First, something that may have been obvious to other people, but a discovery to me: Christie Pits wasn’t just a huge baseball diamond, but a great little niche in the middle of the city where dog-walkers, early morning runners, 6 am boot-campers, casual strollers and families took a second to get away from the daily grind.

Secondly I discovered an array of a different stores, cafes and cozy hangout spots, including a vegan restaurant that I cannot wait to try. So here is a basic roundup of everything amazing about my new neighborhood!

1) Fiesta Farms (200 Christie St, between Bloor St and Dupont St) :¬†This place is truly a paradise for everyone who loves everything about organic and natural food, minus the health-store grind where the aisles are tiny and the people are numerous. The supermarket style grocery store and garden center (open seasonally) is perfect for the eco-conscious shopper. They support local farmers, the local community, carry fair-trade products, and have most of the items you’d find in a health store.

Here is their website http://fiestafarms.ca/

2) Live Food Bar (264 Dupont Street- North East corner of Dupont and Spadina):¬†All vegan, 95% organic plus totally sustainable with a menu that will get you salivating (Think sun-dried tomato sesame sunshine wraps, “bacon cheeseburgers” , raw ¬†pizzas and a variety of grain and salad bowls). I only stopped by for a quick tour but a colleague has spoken highly of this place, so I cannot wait to try out how Live does vegan gourmet!

Here is their website: http://livefoodbar.com/

3) The Hub Coffee House and Locavorium (1028 Shaw Street¬†-South of Dupont):¬†Cradled on a residential street, I must have walked by this place at least twice before realizing that it was actually a cafe. This is what makes it so special and unique. ¬†The owners based their name on the term “locavore”. Enough said. They are organic, local, fair-trade. The decor is charming and the menu (although lacking a full vegan selection) is pretty approachable and affordable. I imagine I will be spending many hours on my laptop live from the Hub, and this excites me!

Here is their website: http://www.hubcoffeehouse.com/

4)Hare Krishna Centre (243 Avenue Road -Dupont and Avenue Rd):¬†If you’re into meditation,Kirtan and looking to discover your spiritual side, this may be the place for you. The Hare Krishna Center holds monthly events, weekly gatherings, wellness and mindfulness seminars, Sangas, Bhakti yoga sessions, as well as weekly (and free) Sunday feasts. Excited yet?!

This is their website: http://iskcontoronto.blogspot.ca/

I’m sure this is only the beginning, and as I take my leisurely strolls this summer, I’m sure I will find the existence of many other wonderful hidden gems. So the moral of the story? Toronto is awesome, and a stressful re-location may be the beginning of new discoveries. So this Spring, its out with the old and in with the new! I will still always love Kensington Pedestrian Sundays, but it’s time to¬†MOVE on!

Happy Moving and Rediscovering!!

E

Superfood Super-Easy Quinoa Salad

Ever since I decided to dedicate myself to an all-plant-based diet I started collecting original vegan recipes, but I also began experimenting in the kitchen and tweaking ingredients to make dishes my own. As my collection grows, I hope to share these yummy ideas with all of you. This quinoa salad was one of the first things I successfully created and I’ve made it ever since. It’s simple, super-packed with vitamins, nutrients and anti-oxidants, easy to make, easy to store and can even be served to your carnivorous friends (perhaps as a side dish), whom I believe will chow it down with great delight!

Here is what you need:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 of an avocado, diced
  • 1/4 of a large red onion, diced
  • 1/2 ¬†cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 medium tomato, diced
  • handful of cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of cucumber, diced
  • handful of raisins, goji berries or dried cranberries (optional)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Juice from 1/2 lime or lemon
  • Dash of salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups of water

Directions

  1. Bring quinoa and 2 cups water a saucepan over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender and the liquid has been absorbed, about 15 minutes.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking, chop and dice your vegetables on a wooden board.
  3. Transfer the veggies to a big bowl (enough to hold the veggies and quinoa) and add salt, pepper ,olive oil, lime juice, and dried berries. Cover and set aside.
  4. Remove quinoa from heat and fluff with a fork. Set aside and allow to cool (about 20 minutes)
  5. Add the cooled quinoa to the mixture in the bowl and lightly toss
  6. Cover and refrigerate,
  7. Allow the salad to cool for approximately one hour and serve as a main dish on its own, or a side dish with goodies such as baked tofu or grilled tempeh. YUM!!!

Happy Eating!

E

Bloom Watch: High Park

Spring is in the Air! And the array of sweet aromas are beginning to fill the atmosphere around us. A sunny April day is the perfect opportunity to spend some quality time at a park, High Park to be exact. And you better act fast or you may miss out on the beauty of the yearly phenomena known as the High Park Cherry Blossoms.

With countless people snapping photographs, families and friends coming together to “ooh” and “ahh” at the marvelous imagery they see in front of them, you’d hardly ever guess you were taking a stroll through High Park on a Wednesday afternoon. But the power of nature to create beauty that brings everyone together is a really special quality that can be witnessed in its full spectrum as nature puts on its own show.

You can follow the Blossom progress on the official website (http://www.highparknaturecentre.com/category/cherry-blossoms-2012/). According to the experts the Blossoms are currently at 95% bloom, and with Toronto weather forecasts being  seemingly unclear (and possible cold and windy), I suggest that you all  plan a visit to the park this weekend to take in the marvelous sight.  In Japanese culture, the Blossoms are a popular symbol of rebirth and renewal, and they must be right because after my casual stroll I already feel refreshed and recharged !

Happy Spring 2012 !

E.