Don’t talk dirty to me when it comes to my make-up.

Not only are you what you eat, but what you are also slather on your skin and hair. Not only was I shocked at the yuk ingredients in many of the grooming and cosmetics products that I used, but also the fact that the organic equivalent is about the same cost. Your skin soaks up a lot of stuff – good, bad and ugly and so what I put on my skin is as important as what I ingest.

There are some amazing resources to help find good products. Think Dirty is an app where you can take a bar scan of the products you use and look at the rating for toxicity. I was stunned when my belovedQuo bronzer came back a 10/10 for toxicity. Environmental Working Group also has a really comprehensive listing of products as well in their Skin Deep database. Usually what I do when looking for a new product is weigh the toxic load with the price – sometimes getting a 2/10 product which is fairly non-toxic for half the price of a 0/10 product might be a good compromise if you are looking to keep a few dollars back or if it’s a higher priced item. As well, always read Makeup Alley and Ulta reviews before making a purchase. I’ve bought organic mascara only to have raccoon eyes 20 minutes after application which was what everyone else who reviewed the mascara experienced. Just because it’s organic doesn’t mean that it’s good.

For me, having the product be work well and cost effective is important. If I had an unlimited budget, having the best of the best would be easy peasy. Here are some products I’ve recently switched to that I think are great: Continue reading “Don’t talk dirty to me when it comes to my make-up.”


Resistance is not futile – here are eleven ways to fight colds and flu.

Autumn and winter is when I fanatically pursue ways to keep from getting sick.

Here are some of the things I’ve tried, many of which are part of my regular routine. You can resist the cold and flu bugs being passed around this winter.

Get enough rest – this is the number one way to stay healthy. You’re body needs to repair and recover from the day and to fight anything you may have been exposed to. Getting run down by burning the candle at both ends is one way that weakens you and prevents your immune system from working. If you don’t have the option of getting sufficient sleep every night, focus on getting more sleep at the first sniffle. And at this time of the year, being in cozy in your bed isn’t a hardship!

Wash your hands with soap – apparently your biggest risk is hands being infected from surfaces and then touching your eyes and your nose. Wash your hands thoroughly in the washroom and get into the habit of not touching your nose and eyes. I know for myself, every time I get on a crowded subway car I immediately want to touch my nose. But I resist so that I avoid giving viruses and easy in [and avoid looking gross!]

Drink a lot of water – this will not only help keep you hydrated and healthy, allowing waste to be carried out of your cells, but if you do happen to be getting sick and there is mucous developing, you won’t feel as awful and stuffed up. For women, the average intake is about 2L and for men, it’s about 3L.

Eat a healthy diet – getting the right nutrients though brightly coloured veggies, good quality starches and grains as well as ample protein is going to give your immune system the building blocks to fight infections and illness. Exposing yourself to the highs and lows of sugar or caffeine crashes can put your body under stress and open you up to attack.

Get your C – there’s no conclusive scientific evidence that vitamin C works to prevent or reduce colds but millions of people take it and find it works. There are a number of ways you can take it. The fizzy liquid form: Emergen-C or EnerC are two brands with 1000 mg of vitamin C. The EsterC is more readily absorbed and usually easier on the stomach. Of course it  comes with a bigger price tag but with supplements, you get what you pay for.

Garlic – this one people shy away from but a crushed clove of garlic will blast anything away. My favorite and least challenging way to take it is to crush the garlic, spoon it in and chase it with Pyramid Ferments Gut Shots which is a sauerkraut brine. It seems to neutralize the garlic aftertaste. You’ll want to do this before bed so that you don’t stink up your workplace.

Oil of Oregano – another super effective cold blaster. It very strong tasting and takes some time to get used to.

Echinacea and/or ginseng – I put these together because it’s the combo sold in Cold F/X. It’s not a cheap product but it’s effective. If you’re looking to save a couple of dollars, you can buy a bottle of Siberian Ginseng from the health store as well.

Zinc lozenges – great to dealing with a cough. Another supplement that is not scientifically proven but it couldn’t hurt.

Nasal irrigation – you can use saline spray in your nose or sniff in some warm salt water out of your hand. It clears your nasal passages of dried mucous and keeps your sinuses moist – which is key in keeping viruses from invading. You can also use medicated nasal spray which is a steroid that constricts you’re the blood vessels in your nasal passages. There was a research study that suggested that using medicated nasal spray is effective in preventing colds from flourishing. But it’s one study. And my in my personal experiment, I got a nosebleed after the third spray and tossed it.

Drink chicken broth – why wait to get sick to enjoy the benefits of chicken broth when you are sick? Chicken broth sipped with your lunch or as the main course in a soup can give you the immune boost that you need when fighting the cold.

Even if you end up succumbing to your cold or flu, by taking some of these can help minimize your symptoms so that you’re back on the squat rack quicker.

Continue reading “Resistance is not futile – here are eleven ways to fight colds and flu.”

Awesome eating this Monday meal prep

spiderThis week we are continuing with the Tex-Mex theme I love so much (mostly because of guacamole which is my favorite thing right now). Also because I noticed Anthony gazing longingly at a tub of layered dip at the grocery store and decided a fun meal and homemade dip would be a good reward for him dutifully eating all the salads I prepare in the summer.

We had some great quality finds this weekend for our kitchen, including laco-fermented pickles, fermented turnips and smoked garlic scape salt.


The menu this week:

I kicked off the meal prep with a Layered Dip. The first layer is fried beans. I smooshed the beans in a bowl with my hands and then added them to a pan with some taco seasoning and water. In minutes I had amazing fried beans without the nasty of the canned stuff. Next layer was tomato salsa. Following that, ground turkey that was browned in taco seasoning. I topped that with a layer of guacamole. Then sprinkled some red and orange peppers diced tiny. I smeared on on sour cream that I whisked in some onion powder, garlic powder and a little salt and topped it with old cheddar. Along with a big bag of torillas, he has a few indulgent lunches. I made it in smaller containers so that it wouldn’t get all nasty during the week.

Continuing with the theme is Oh She Glows Tortilla Soup. I enjoy it topped with a dollop of guac or some sliced avocado. Not a fan of the tortillas, personally. If I feel like I need a starch, I’ll add a spoonful of brown rice.

I had an eggplant sitting lonely in my fridge and decided to put it to work in a Grilled Eggplant with Soba Noodles from Thug Kitchen. I deflowered this vegan dish with the second half of the pound of ground turkey.

I picked up some ostrich burgers from The Trading Post just outside of Port Perry, Ontario. Ostrich is a lot like grass fed beef but with a bit more flavour and it’s quite lean [not as lean as bison, but pretty close].

I also made Thug Kitchen‘s Spiced Chickpea Wraps with Tahini Dressing. I don’t eat it in a wrap but what I do is put it on a salad and add a dollop of tahini dressing.

Not food, but I recently discovered chaga tea which is a mushroom that grows on chagabirch trees in cold places [Siberia, Alaska, Northern Ontario]. It’s full of antioxidents, it leaves acai berries in the dust for battling free radicals and apparently is great for inflammation [good for those of us with autoimmune dis-eases]. And most importantly, it’s delicious. It’s like the magic of the forest in your mouth. I made two litres of it with seven chunks I steeped for two hours in boiled water.

The simple, staple food I made which are great with a salad is: baked chicken breasts that I annointed with smoked garlic scape salt (from Pyramid Ferments), onion powder and paprika, grilled trout with lemon and dill, brown rice prepared in chicken broth and bay leaves, a giant tub of chopped veggies, baggies of veggies and hard boiled eggs for my 3pm snack.

What I also do with the ends of my cucumbers, carrots, zucchinis etc is put them in a big container and use the veggies in my shake in the morning. For two people, I fill the Vitamix to the brim with veggies, a bit of water, vegan protein powder, collagen, cinnamon, banana and blueberries. For Anthony a glug of kefir to help him get his fill of probiotics.

When you eat awesome, you feel awesome.