Viva Las Vegas!!

I’m not even sure where to start to tell of my Vegas adventure, but I’ll try to set it up concisely. After a very rainy fall here in Vancouver (aka Raincouver), not unusual but a LOT of rain, plus family going to Jamaica and a friend going to Mexico I decided I needed to get away for a few days where it was sunny and I could get there quickly. I have never been to Vegas but have wanted to go and the timing was right. Isn’t that the way it works? The timing all of a sudden seems right for you to do something you’ve wanted to do for a while?

20161113_161810Anyway, I booked a short trip, 2 nights 3 days to Vegas (one I felt was a good deal) on the Friday and left on the Sunday. In reality I was in Vegas less than 48 hrs but I packed a lot into my time there and had an absolute blast! This was also my first ever trip completely on my own, where I wasn’t traveling with someone, nor meeting others at the destination. I’ll talk about what I learned about solo travel further in this blog.

The day of my arrival, unbeknownst to me was also the day of the Rock n Roll Marathon which takes place along the Strip (Los Vegas Blvd) after dark (the sun drops down about 5 pm ish), so the shuttle buses running from the airport to the hotels were delayed by an hour or more, but I only ended up waiting about 20 mins. Already I was having good luck in Vegas!🙂  Arriving at my hotel was amazing. I stayed at the Luxor, the pyramid shaped hotel. 20161113_204932I like spaces that are different. I couldn’t believe the size of it! It was humongous! In my mind I ‘knew’ the hotels are huge in Vegas but until you actually see one in person you really have no idea.

I can see this story is going to get long quickly, so I’m going to condense it starting right now. Had a great time exploring the strip outside my hotel and watching the start of the marathon, even had my 15 seconds of fame when I got interviewed on camera by Fox News 5. Bopped away to some great oldies (50’s & 60’s) from a live band and just had fun!

People who don’t gamble worry about what they will do in Vegas, trust me you can go to Vegas and do so much and never gamble if you don’t want to. I did play the slots a bit, I enjoy them, even had a ‘lucky’ machine, lol! You can 20161115_080742easily see 2 shows a night if you wish, plus there are other types of shows you could see in the day time, like the Titanic Relics display that was available in my hotel. There are also of course tours to the Grand Canyon and/or the Hoover Dam, which are pretty much a whole day; and shopping galore. Just walking the Strip is enjoyable and a great workout if you’re not strolling, plus you can get lots of stairs in your workout because of the many pedestrian overpasses that make it safe to cross the big intersections away from the traffic.

My 3 shows I saw were Criss Angel the amazing magician! Lots of smoke and fire in his show. Some of you may know how much I love Cirque du Soleil shows and there are about 8 of them in Vegas at any one time. 20161114_181150I went and saw Zumanity which is the adults only erotic Cirque show; and now I know why they say “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”, lol <insert cheeky grin here>. I also saw the Blue Man Group show, the second time I’ve seen them, they are so much fun! Considering they never speak, they are very expressive with just their faces and body language.

I also walked the Strip for 2 hours the one morning. The weather was perfect, about 78* (about 20161113_16023625*C), sunny, a lovely breeze and clear blue sky. I could have taken pictures about every 10 feet there was so much to see. I did take about 87 photos altogether on my trip. I bought a nice zippered hoodie with Las Vegas on the front to bring home and a few little trinkets for some family members, but I didn’t do any other shopping.

Like I mentioned above, I did play the slots a bit here and there, and I guess I came out ahead since I came home with 2 bucks (US dollars) from the cash I had taken with me for tips, gambling, and miscellaneous uses. The only negative thing I can say about my trip was that smoking is allowed in the casinos. It is not allowed here in Canada so that was surprising and could have been very distasteful. I do have to say though that there was no smoky haze in the air and I was careful not to sit near anyone that was smoking. So I was fine. Also surprising (to me) was that drinks (alcoholic or otherwise) are free while you’re gambling (please be sure to tip your waitress though!), so I admit I had a couple of strawberry daiquiris. I like girly drinks when I do have a drink and Vegas loves the slushy frosty drinks (which again you can get with or without alcohol) that are pina colada, strawberry, mixed berry and other flavours. You can even buy them outside along the Strip.

I was not ready to leave on the Tues morning but I did enjoy the warm, quiet peacefulness outside the Luxor as I waited for my shuttle bus to the airport. I like to people watch and I was quite amused watching some workers scrub the driveway with toothbrushes!😀

About solo traveling. It is not something I’ve done on my own before although I have done lots of traveling by myself to get to a place where I was meeting others. Heck, I do that every time I fly to Ontario to be with family at Christmas time. This though, was my first ever trip where I was going somewhere and being completely on my own for the whole trip. I was nervous excited, not about being on my own in regards to safety and such, just a bit about ‘would I feel lonely at all?’ I have no problems overall in talking to strangers, at least my friends tell me that, though it does take effort at times to push myself to do so; but I had so issues at all with feeling alone. The biggest benefit to traveling alone is you have no one to please but yourself in all things. When do you want to travel? Where do you want to stay? What do you want to do? When? Where do you want to eat, shop, take pics, go to the pool, the casino, etc? All my choice, all my decisions, all for my pleasure. Lol, sounds maybe selfish but I don’t believe so. It would be selfish if I was traveling with someone else and acted that way.

I’m definitely inspired to do more solo traveling to more places. I’m excited with all the possibilities! Don’t get me wrong though, of course I want to travel with others – family, friends, someone special. My sister and I have already talked about going to Vegas together (for at least 4 nights 5 days), plus my daughter and I are talking about going in 2018 for her 30th and my 55th birthdays.

20161113_151704I don’t know where I may travel on my next solo adventure but I can’t wait to have the experience! This trip has shown me even more how important it is to live in the now, be mindful and present in every moment and to create the life and experiences you want to have.

Do the Hustle!

do-the-hustleDo the Hustle! No, no not the disco hit from 1975, lol, although I must admit I’ve done my share of the steps.

What I’m talking about in my blog today is hustling. Not in the negative definition of “obtain by forceful action or persuasion”; no what I’m talking about is hustling as in “busy movement or activity” or also as urban dictionary defines it “anything you need to do to make money”.

In my case though it’s realizing and fully accepting that, that is not the right path for me when it comes to helping people the way I want to. If there’s one thing I’ve observed and experienced in the last few years is that no alternative practitioner I personally know or know of has one stream of income, is only doing one thing (i.e seeing clients one on one), or is using only one type of social media. In order to build a full time career as an alternative practitioner (especially for the less recognized modalities) you must hustle! You must being doing many of the above mentioned methods all of the time in order to achieve any degree of regularity and sustainability. I’ve also noticed that many alternative practitioners are doing other jobs (still as independent business people) totally unrelated to their particular modality.

What has been clarified for me is that I’m not a hustler; and thank the Gods as the world needs all kinds to make it work. Some people are great at it and thrive on the challenge and the go-go-go, I do not! I am a person who thrives on routine, stability, and life work balance. I love to help people by being me and helping them wherever we may be when we meet. It could be on the bus, in the park, at an event, walking down the street, OR in an office. I can help best by one on one sharing of my knowledge, intuition and caring, as well as in a group presentation, at which point I’m doing it because I want to, not because I have to.

Having that stability and routine of a “regular” job (still working in the wellness field) where I get to feel I’m connecting and helping others then allows me the freedom and security to do workshops, presentations to small or large groups, talk to people one on one, group hypnosis sessions and private hypnosis, when I want, as often as I want and how I want. WOW, that’s pretty cool in my estimation!

I must admit I’m pretty grateful for all the learning, growing and change I’ve gone through in the last 4 years or so even though a lot of it (most of it) has been challenging and difficult. That’s how we grow though, through those difficult times. I’ve been so blessed to have friends, family and fantastic mentors and guides to be there and help me through it all.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of “it must be done this way”, or, “you are only successful if you do things that way”, key-to-happinesswhen really success is a very personal and individual definition. Don’t be afraid to find out what is your way, what is your definition of success. Find success through what makes you happy. As I’ve said many times on my blogs, figuring it out may be the most demanding work you ever do, but it will be so worth it! I promise.🙂



Soup! Glorious soup!

It’s that time of year here in the northern hemisphere – fall! I love fall, the colours, the crisp air, relief from summer heat (I don’t like it too hot which is why I like Vancouver so much), pumpkin pie, pumpkin spice everything, cozy sweaters and soup! I definitely get cravings for those warm comforting foods like soup. I tend to like cream based soups the best and still have fond memories of coming home for lunch when I was in grade school and having tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich.

As I focus on researching and creating my next blogs with updates on where I am in my journey both professionally and personally I thought I’d post a quick blog with a few of my fave soup recipes.

Spicy Pumpkin Soup
Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 30 minutes Yield: Serves 4 to 6
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups roughly chopped yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons minced, peeled fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons yellow curry powderVal Meikle's photo.
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
Small pinch of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of kosher salt plus more to taste
4 cups low sodium chicken stock (or vegetable broth for vegetarian option)
2 bay leaves
2 (15 oz) cans 100 percent pumpkin or 3 1/2 cups of chopped roasted pumpkin purée*
1 cup water
3 Tbsp heavy whipping cream
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Yogurt (for garnish)
Toasted pumpkin seeds (for garnish)
*To make pumpkin purĂ©e, cut a sugar pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff, lie face down on a tin-foil lined baking pan. Bake at 350°F until soft, about 45 min to an hour. Cool, scoop out the flesh. PurĂ©e in food processor. Freeze whatever you don’t use for future use.

Slow Cooker Potato Soup
6 slices cooked bacon*, diced
3-4 cups good-quality chicken or vegetable stock
2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes**, peeled (if desired) and dicedVal Meikle's photo.
1 medium white or yellow onion, peeled and diced
4 tablespoons bacon grease* (or butter)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 (12-ounce) can 2% evaporated milk
1 cup shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt or low-fat sour cream
1 teaspoon Kosher salt, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
optional toppings: thinly-sliced green onions or chives,
extra shredded cheese, extra bacon, sour cream

Add bacon, 3 cups chicken stock, potatoes and onion to the bowl of a large slow cooker, and stir to combine. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours, or until the potatoes are completely tender and cooked through.
Once the soup has slow cooked and is about ready to serve, cook the butter in a small saucepan on the stove over medium-high heat until it has melted. Whisk in the flour until it is completely combined, and then cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Gradually add in the evaporated milk while whisking it together with the flour mixture, and continue whisking until the mixture is completely smooth. Let the mixture continue cooking until it reaches a simmer, stirring occasionally, and then it should get really thick.
Immediately pour the milk mixture into the slow cooker with the potatoes, and stir until combined. Add in the cheddar cheese, Greek yogurt (or sour cream), salt and pepper, and stir until combined. If you would like the soup to be even thicker, you can use a potato masher or a large spoon to mash about half of the potatoes (while the soup is still in the slow cooker) to thicken the soup up. If you would like the soup to be thinner, add in an extra 1-2 cups of warmed chicken or vegetable stock. Stir to combine, then taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
Serve warm, garnished with desired toppings. Or transfer to a sealed container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. (This recipe will not freeze well.)

Aaaand one more: 
Chicken Corn Chowder
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 tsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, dicedDawn Gump Wilson's photo.
1 stalk celery, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 tsp garlic, minced
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups almond milk
1/2 cup sharp shredded Cheddar cheese
Green onion, thinly sliced (for garnish)
1) Heat olive oil in medium saucepan over medium heat.
2) Add onion, celery, red pepper and garlic and cook until the vegetables are beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.
3) Add chicken broth and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
4) Add corn and simmer for 3 minutes.
5) Place flour in a medium bowl and slowly whisk in the milk until mixture is smooth.
6) Slowly whisk the milk mixture into the soup, continue to whisk frequently, until the soup is thickened, about 15 minutes
7) Stir in salt and pepper.
8) Stir in the chicken and cheddar cheese,stirring until the cheese is melted
9) When ready to serve, ladle into soup bowls and garnish with green onions

Enjoy one of these soups (or any others that you like), maybe curled up close to a warm fire, wrapped in a cozy blanket, chatting with some friends or just reading a good book.

Stuff vs Experiences!

Over the last 3 days, I did a 6 session Mind Clearing intensive with Sara Gabriel (, the practitioner from my last blog about Mind Clearing ( This intensive was 2 – 90 min sessions per day for 3 consecutive days, with about 30 min break in between each pair of sessions.


It’s called intensive for a reason, lol. It was amazing, powerful, and intriguing to watch almost from outside myself the duality of my brain at work (to see what came forth from my subconscious), especially the last 2 sessions on the 3rd day. I’ll probably write a blog about the whole experience soon but right now I want to share one of the big things that came out of it for me.

I’m not a rich person, and neither are any of my family or close friends, but I think we’re all comfortable enough that we do buy birthday and Christmas presents for each other, and we’re usually able to buy ourselves (most) material things that we want.

What’s changed for me and has been shifting for the last 5 years but especially in the last year or so, is a desire for less material “stuff” and a desire for more experiences with the special people in my life. The intensive really clarified that for me, and even having more (simple and quick most times I think) experiences with strangers is a desire.

In regards to experiences with family and friends I’m going to be working towards creating those more and more often starting as soon as possible. Christmas is going to a big one for change, at least that’s my plan.🙂

20160717_162153Experiences don’t have to be big, either in cost or what we actually do together. For me it means being fully in the moment the whole time I’m sharing space and time with that person or persons. Whether it’s a free walk along the seawall or an event like Cirque du Soleil (for which I always buy the best tickets I can), these experiences, sharing them with someone I love is what is important to me. I think it’s also important for my emotional/mental growth and health over the long term.


Don’t get me wrong, I do love and appreciate all of the stuff that loved ones have given me, and I appreciate all of the things I am able to buy for myself. I will never not buy books, for example! booksExperiences though, time spent with those loved ones means more, means something deeper, means the most. We never know how long we have with someone (and it isn’t always death that separates us) and I want to create great memories over and over again in my life. I can’t take the stuff with me when I die, but I can have my memories of special people, special times and special moments that I create, that I participate in, that I seek! Emphasizing that I mean from the simplest and/or shortest experience to the longest/most in depth, with a loved one or a stranger.

create your own experienceCreate your experience!

Live in the moment!

Be present and enjoy life!

Every day!

Mind Clearing!

Recently I’ve been feeling stuck in some ways around my career. Not sure if the path I’ve been trying to create is the right one for me. Am I following my right path? Are limiting beliefs holding me back? If so, what are those beliefs and how can I change them?

One of my mentors, Kiley, that I’ve mentioned in past blogs, pointed me towards Sara another of my mentors. I also consider them both as friends. Sara is focusing on a technique called Mind Clearing. So I reached out to Sara, asked for some information on the technique and so far I’ve had two very effective sessions with her. Especially the second one, which I’ll tell you about further in my blog but right now I want to explain about Mind Clearing, how it works, what it is, etc.

First off, as I know from my experience and training with Hypnosis the subconscious mind is a complex system of experiences, ideas, identities, trauma and rigid patterns of perception. Change your perception and you change your reality!

Clearing is a way to clean out whatever interferes with living a more vibrant, connected and impassioned life. Become more effective in all areas of your life by increasing your ability to be in relationship with anything you are giving your attention towards.

In the process of receiving instructions, contemplating, expressing thoughts and feelings, and being understood, clearing occurs. Seemingly simple processes can provide profound insights and healing.

One of the powerful aspects of Mind Clearing is that the Clearer does not usually insert themselves in the client’s process but supports the client in working out what is right for them and their life.

Within an unusually short amount of time, clients move past frozen states and embrace new and innovative ways to approach their lives. *

That last statement is certainly true in my case. Very quickly in my second session with Sara I cleared a bunch of previous ideas, expectations and perceptions around my career. I clarified that the ideas I was currently attached to were not actually the right ones for me. I learned that letting go of these ideas and expectations freed me up to allow the right ideas (for me) to flow into my life.

With Sara’s guidance I came up with a list of concrete steps to follow in order to clear those ideas, expectations and perceptions from my external life now that I had them cleared/clarified internally. I quickly made changes in regards to how I will use (or not use) social media. I changed some things here on my website/blog. I let go of how I believed I should be serving clients and people in general. I accepted that just being open to serving others was the only idea I needed for now. More structured ideas will come to me as I am ready for them. Or, maybe I will continue to serve others in what may seem to others as without structure. Believe me, as a person who values and needs structure and routine in her life, it was a revelation to realize that structure in serving clients made me feel restricted and tied down.

The other major discovery that came out at my session was that I still had an attachment to an individual that I thought I had dealt with a year ago. That was a surprise – that there was something still there, and that letting go of the other stuff allowed me to let go of the ghost that I had no idea was haunting my career path.

You may be wondering what else can Mind Clearing do for you? Here’s a list of the benefits:

Create and maintain healthy boundaries

Solve current problems

Forward stuck projects

Identify the right kind of livelihood for your own nature, talents and passions

Transform Stress

Heal depression and anxiety

Release Grief

Improve family gatherings

Increase communication skills, thereby improving ALL relationships

Clear traumatic memories

“Disappear” Fix states and chronic attitudes

Release guilt

Clear Karma

Clear Money Issues*

If you would like to know more about Mind Clearing or would like to work with Sara, please feel free to contact her at You’ll find Sara to be warm, caring, clear, intuitive, sensitive and professional. I highly recommend working with her! Oh and you don’t have to live in the Vancouver area, Sara can do sessions through Skype.

*All words in italics are taken directly from


Fun In The Sun!

Hello all you lovely followers! I hope that wherever you are, life is good, the weather is sunny and you’re living your journey with your entire being!

I’ve been enjoying myself even when the universe throws challenges at me. I’m following my endomorph eating and exercise plan and have an abundance of energy and I’m looking great if I do say so myself!😉 If you’ve not yet read my body type blogs, please do – find part 1 here and part 2 here. 

Our weather here in Vancouver has been an interesting mix of rain mostly at night, and grey with clouds and rain some of the mornings, but turning out pretty nice for the afternoon & evenings. Today though was super nice and sunny all day with a high of about 24*C (that’s about 75*F). I went over to the Quay on the North Shore, one of my fave places to read a book and people watch and ended up enjoying the rockin’ tunes of a band playing 60’s and 70’s music. Then I decided to go for a walk in Stanley Park, but when I got there I decided I wanted to do something different, so I turned right instead of left and ended up having a fantastic walk through the Coal Harbour area to Canada Place where the cruise ships dock. At this time of year there is often more than one in port and today there were three of them. I get such a thrill even after 5 years of being here when I see the cruise ships in port!

Today I bring you some of the pics I took on my little adventure today: I hope you enjoy them!

20160717_164710 20160717_162503 20160717_162153

The 3rd ship leaving port. The other 2 ships. Where the seaplanes dock.

20160717_161723 20160717_131214 20160717_172744

My home on the seawall. Music at the Quay. Didn’t wear sunscreen😩

Just kidding about that being my home, but it is my dream to have a tiny home near the water. One day I will.



Why exercise may not be near as important for weight loss…

Being the researcher you all know I am, and continuing along the lines of recent discoveries I’ve made, I recently came across this interesting video on YouTube:

Weight loss and exercise It’s less than 5 minutes long and worth every second!

In this video they talk about our resting, aka basal, metabolic rate which is the calories burned to keep us alive each day. This means just breathing, doing nothing, in a neutral temperate environment (neither too hot, nor too cold) and not in the process of digesting food. Important note, this by no means indicates that exercise is not necessary in our lives. Regular exercise does help keep us healthy and to live longer. This blog is about exercise and weight loss.

Our resting metabolic rate accounts for the majority of our calories burned, over which we have very little control. A good portion of our calories burned each day also goes to food breakdown. The rest of the calories burned, about 10-30%, goes to energy for physical activity. So that means that although 100% of our calories in each day are under our control, only about 30% of calories out are under our control. The old adage that weight loss is as simple as calories in versus calories out, no longer applies. Anyone who tells you that weight loss is that simple is not up on current research. If you’ve been reading my blogs about body shape types (part 1, part 2) or my page on Breaking Free From Emotional Eating program, then you know that weight loss is most definitely not just about calories!

There’s also evidence of two other possible reasons why exercise doesn’t work for weight loss. 1) People tend to get hungry after working out and thus many eat more than they would if they had not exercised, and 2) people sometimes slow down, meaning are less active or move slower in other activities after exercise. It’s called “compensatory behaviour” and it’s one of the ways we unknowingly undermine our workouts.

The video states that research has also discovered something called “metabolic compensation”, as people start to slim down their resting metabolism can slow down so the amount of energy you burn at rest is lower (remember this is the part where most of the calories are burned and you have little control over).

It takes so much energy via physical activity to burn off some of the food choices we make that most people get discouraged, don’t have the time, might eat more because the exercise made them hungry, that it’s best to moderate your food intake rather than try to adjust the impact of overeating by vigorous exercise. Some quick examples of how long it takes to burn off some food choices: 60 min of running to burn off a burger & fries, 60 mins of vigorous dancing to burn off a few glasses of wine you had at dinner, 60 mins of intense bicycling to burn off 2 donuts! If you eat more than one of those types of food (or overeat in general) all in one day, you could spend 3-4 of your waking hours exercising! This is why I pay no attention to the calories (supposedly) burned that I see on exercise machines at the gym, I find it way too discouraging. Additionally, all that exercise is shown to be injury causing, disease causing (possibly – the science is still young), and stress causing.

If you’ve ever heard that weight management (loss, gain, maintenance) is 80% nutrition and 20% exercise, now you know why. A clean whole foods, unprocessed, preservative free (or at least minimal preservatives) diet appropriate for each individual is the way to weight control! What’s more, the belief that “I can eat what I want and/or how much I want and not gain weight if I exercise enough” is also a falsehood. You may not gain weight (that’s a big maybe) if you do tons of exercise, but if you’re eating a processed, sugar filled (have you read food labels lately?), high carbohydrate, chemical heavy diet, then you’re not healthy, and won’t remain that way over the long term either. Overeating of a healthy diet is not good either. Too much of healthy whole foods is still too much.

It’s not impossible to lose weight with exercise but it’s a lot harder. If you go to the gym and use a significant amount of your valuable time and put in considerable effort to burn off calories, you can erase all of that in 5 mins by eating a slice of pizza! Seems a whole lot easier and much more effective to eat a moderate intake of clean whole foods, with an occasional/rare indulgence; and use exercise for the immediate and long term health benefits.

Ectomorph, Endomorph or Mesomorph, which one are you? (part 2)

Welcome to part 2 of my blog on the 3 body shape types. If you haven’t read part one yet go here. In part 1 I covered descriptions of the 3 types, and nutrition and exercise recommendations for the Endomorph type. In this blog I’ll be covering nutrition and exercise for the other 2 types – Mesomorph and Ectomorph.

A quick review of the physical features of both of these types:

The Mesomorph body type  is almost the exact opposite of the Endomorph. They are athletic, generally with a hard body. Their muscles are well defined, they are strong and gain muscle easily. They have a more rectangular body shape.

The small, delicately framed Ectomorph, tend to be flat chested, with small shoulders and on the thin side. They have lean muscle mass and find it hard to gain weight and muscle. They also tend to have a fast metabolism.

Nutrition and Exercise for the Mesomorph:

If you have this body type, you are able to put on muscle easily when you lift weights and find it fairly easy to gain and lose body weight. However, this doesn’t mean you can eat whatever you want and lie around on the couch all day.

Balance is important for the Mesomorph, who falls between Endomorphs and Ectomorphs — the other two body types which are characterized by excess body fat and skinniness, respectively. I recommend that mesomorphs follow a dietary plan that is nearly balanced between the three macro-nutrients — 40 percent carbs, 30 percent protein and 30 percent fat. At each meal. Make calories count by choosing whole foods (over processed foods), which tend to be more nutrient-dense and lower in unhealthy fat, salt and sugar. Focus on non-starchy vegetables, fresh fruits, lean proteins, whole grains, limit dairy products (don’t replace full fat with low or non-fat, they’re full of added sugar to make up for the missing fat), and enjoy nuts and seeds in moderation. Get healthy fats by drizzling your salad with olive oil or topping it with sesame seeds, or adding avocado to a salad or on a lean burger.

Just as they should eat a balanced diet, Mesomorphs should engage in a balanced fitness regimen including both cardio and weight training. Lift moderate to heavy weight in order to stimulate muscle growth. But be careful not to overdo it. Once a Mesomorph has reached their ideal physique, they can train to maintain. Mesomorphs don’t need to do as much cardio as Endomorphs, but they should still engage in cardio exercise such as running or cycling for 35 minutes three days a week.

Nutrition and Exercise for the Ectomorph:

Since Ectomorphs have such a naturally fast metabolism, they must make sure to consume an adequate amount of calories and carbs. Ectomorphs typically handle carbs much better and should consume a sufficient amount of high-quality carbs every day in order to support intense training sessions. Ectomorphs should also aim to eat every two to four hours, meaning have smaller meals more frequently, 6 meals a day! Take advantage of high quality carbs (starchy, unprocessed, whole grain carbs), don’t skimp on protein. Even add some carbs to your after workout protein drink! It’s still about balance, protein is still important but Ectomorphs need and can handle a higher carb to protein ratio. Fruits and vegetables are also still important. Vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients are in these foods that are absolutely essential for you to grow and be healthy. Don’t allow being an Ectomorph to be an excuse to eat crap! A healthy diet always includes plants with every meal.

Being naturally leaner and finding it harder to gain weight, Ectomorphs should focus on resistance training and limit endurance-type training. So the name of the game is strength and building muscle. In order to gain strength and size, Ectomorphs should focus on resting longer between sets, using heavier weights for fewer reps (four to eight) and not targeting the endurance energy systems during training (you’re not running a marathon here, so you don’t want to feel as if you are).

You can do your weight session three times per week, resting a day in between sessions. You should not be doing a ton of high-intensity cardio on your off days (even if that’s your natural inclination), but you can stay active with low-intensity activities like walking or swimming. Compound movements are great for you, as they maximize your workout time by working multiple muscle groups at once. So if you’re burned out on your current workout, try incorporating lunges with biceps curls, squats with an overhead press or renegade rows with push-ups.

So, there you have it, the best way to eat and workout for your body type. Remember though that a) you may not fit perfectly into one of the body types and b) always listen to your body when changing routines and adjust accordingly. Your body wants to be its best healthy self. If we listen to it and do our best by it, it will get there!

I’m off to the gym to do my own HIIT workout and then out into the sunshine for a walk with a friend. Enjoy your day🙂

Ectomorph, Endomorph or Mesomorph, which one are you? (part 1)

I’ve recently begun research on the 3 (main) body shape types. You will find a few sources out there that list more than 3 types, but 3 is the most common or accepted number. I started this research because of knowing my own body well, but still needing more information when it comes to the best way to nourish my body and to exercise for the best healthy results.

In this recent exploration I’ve also researched (re-read parts of the book) on Eating For Your Blood Type, and the Paleo and Ketogenic diets. I’ve found some great sources of information online about all of this, and I’m thrilled with how I’m feeling and looking since I made some changes.

It’s interesting to note that what I’m discovering is not new for me/to me. I’ve known for years really about my body type and how it reacts to food and types of exercise but 2 things are important to mention- 1) for whatever reasons I didn’t trust the info my body was giving me, and 2) there is a lot more science based research out there compared to 15-20 years ago.

Let’s start with a pic and description chart of the 3 types:

3 body types

I hope you can read the description part. I picked this pic because it shows women and men figures. I am definitely an Endomorph body type. This is the type that gains fat easily, darn! Yet we also gain muscle easily. We have the softer, rounder body. Quite stocky and generally on the short(er) side. It is hard for us to lose fat, we have a slow metabolism and our muscles are not well defined.

The Mesomorph body type however is almost the exact opposite. They are athletic, generally with a hard body. Their muscles are well defined, they are strong and gain muscle easily. They have a more rectangular body shape.

The small, delicately framed Ectomorph, tend to be flat chested, with small shoulders and on the thin side. They have lean muscle mass and find it hard to gain weight and muscle. They also tend to have a fast metabolism.

A person can be a combination of more than one of the body types but tend to be predominately one of the types.

I’m going to talk about the best exercise and nutrition for the Endomorph type in this blog and the Ectomorph and Mesomorph types in my next blog.

Let’s start with the nutrition component, which is about 80% of the whole package. One of the things I’ve learned in my research is about “eating windows”, in other words how many hours in a day is your eating spread over. For most people it’s about 12 hours. From 8 am to 8 pm for example. Now of course that doesn’t mean they are eating constantly for 12 hours, it just means that their total food intake for the day is spread over 12 hours. For us Endomorphs shortening that window to no more than 8 hours is a better strategy. For me that means keeping my eating from about 11 am to 7 pm. I remain flexible though to my schedule each day and to how I feel. If I wake up hungry then I’ll eat, and my eating will just shift to ending earlier. If I’m not hungry, then I’ll wait. I’ve been experimenting too with hot and cold morning fat fueled drinks (for more on that look here), that don’t break the fast but give me some nutrients.

So just what should you eat as an Endomorph for your best health and/or weight loss?

Endomorphs tend to be quite sensitive to carbohydrates (grain and grain products, rice, pasta, starchy vegetables, etc) AND sugar. A low carb diet, moderate in high quality proteins, and higher in good fats, such as wild caught salmon, avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, grass fed beef, soy and corn free chicken (with the skin on), lots of greens and other non-starchy vegetables (avoid corn, potatoes, beets, cooked carrots, and similar vegetables), eat free range eggs and uncured bacon (aka pork belly). Limit fruit and choose mostly berries when you do eat fruit. Be wary of alcohol and artificial sweeteners, and the “good” sweeteners (like honey, coconut palm sugar and maple syrup). Some artificial sweeteners can still spike blood sugar, such at malitol and xylitol. Others like alcohol-free Stevia drops, Inulin, Monk Fruit and Erythritol do not spike blood sugar. Notice I’m not mentioning aspartame, sucralose or saccharin, do yourself a huge favour and avoid these forever!

If you’re noticing a similarity here between what I’m recommending and the Paleo and Ketogenic diets, it’s because there is a similarity! This way of eating is also in tune with the Eat Right For Your Blood Type recommendations for those who are blood type O. I happen to be blood type O and I have found this way of eating works well for me. I am still, after about 3 weeks now (and 9 lbs gone), tweaking things to work with what’s best for me. We are all different and following any one plan exactly is not necessarily the best for each individual. Think of it as a starting point. A place to begin, and then listen to your body, give it time to adapt – although the truer a plan is for your body, the faster your body adapts in a positive way.

The other 20% of the healthy balanced Endomorph package is exercise! I know, I know, for us who gain weight so easily and have slower metabolisms and have difficulty losing fat, exercise can seem pointless or too difficult to fit into our busy days; but there’s good news. As Endomorphs, we don’t have to do long boring cardio sessions, or any kind of long weight lifting session at the gym. We want a balanced workout plan with a focus on resistance training (body weight resistance training doesn’t require any extra equipment) and HIIT (high intensity interval training) with a longer slower cardio workout maybe 1-2 times a week. That’s when I enjoy a good 2 (or more) hour hike with friends. A steady state workout plan where we do longer slower (supposedly fat burning) workouts ALL the time actually creates insulin resistance. Studies show that high intensity exercise puts you at a LOWER risk for disease, whereas endurance exercise is counterproductive to health (hence the healthy eating marathon runner that drops dead from a sudden heart attack). Research also shows that 6 mins of pure hard exercise could be just as effective as an hour of daily moderate exercise, 2 mins from a BBC2 video on this. A HIIT workout plan fully depletes glycogen stores causing your body to burn fat for fuel and enhances insulin sensitivity. This also equals a higher metabolic rate. High Intensity Exercise activates an enzyme called Hormone Sensitive Lipase which mobilizes body fat making it the preferred energy source. HIE/HIIT also causes the release of adrenaline which causes this enzyme to operate under an amplification cascade. In other words it boosts the whole ‘fat for fuel, increased metabolic rate’ to surge in a beneficial way for your body.

There are SO many free videos on YouTube and written/pictorial workouts on multitudes of fitness sites that there is no way I can list them here for you. I suggest typing “HIIT workouts”, into YouTube or Google and you’ll have plenty to choose from. This is also a time where you want to listen to you body, try new things, modify and adapt to your current fitness level while challenging yourself, and most of all – have fun!! Oh, one last thing, within 45-60 mins after your workout make sure to eat some low GI carbs, about 15-30 grams worth for best fat burning. You want your body to stay in the catabolic fat burning state a little longer. Some examples of low GI carbs would be yam, sweet potato, bananas, berries, apple or an orange.

There is tons of research online about all of the above eating plans, exercise plans, and about the body types. I hope I’ve condensed it here (and in part 2 of this blog) in a manner that gives you the basics and maybe encourages you to do more research so that you can modify and adapt any and all plans to best suit your body so that it can be healthy and balanced the way it wants to be.

Oh, oh, one more last thing (chuckles) before I go do my own HIIT workout, for women, mid-afternoon is said to be the best time to workout in order to most benefit hormones, weight management and to stabilize mood.

I’ll be posting part 2 of this series, on the nutrition and exercise best suited to Ectomorphs and Mesomorphs within the next few days.

Until then,

have a great weekend

Foods and Moods, part 3 (of 3)

Good morning on this beautiful spring Monday in Vancouver! I had an amazing weekend of events with good friends including an awesome adventure on Bowen Island hiking for 2 1/2 hours yesterday that included a killer hill. Today I’m sore, but it was so worth it, I definitely challenged myself.

Today’s blog is part 3 of my foods and moods series based around reducing the physical and mental effects of stress with superfoods. I do feel there may be more to this topic than I originally thought I’d be blogging about but I think 3 big blogs is a great starting point. If by chance you missed the first 2 parts to this series, they can be found here (pt 1) and here (pt 2). Please note I am not stating in any way to eat these foods and not go to your doctor if you’re experiencing physical or mental symptoms that could be signs of something serious! 

So let’s get started with part 3:

18. Beets – are an abundant source of dozens of vitamins and minerals, including being one of the richest sources of energy boosting iron. They’re also high in betaine and typtophan for easing depression and lifting mood. Beets are rich in: Folate to build tissue and red blood cells to increase energy. Betalains which are plant chemicals that have strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Nitrates which have been shown to lower stress related high blood pressure within an hour. Boron, shown to help improve virility in both men and women.

19. Avocado – one of my faves, they contain more than 25 key nutrients, including the B vitamins and postassium to encourage the health of the nervous system. The healthy fats avocado contain can help to promote heart health while regulating blood pressure. They are also high in vitamin E to boost immunity and improve skin health. Avocados are rich in: Beta-sitosterol to lower unhealthy cholesterol. Potassium to control blood pressure. Fiber and monounsaturated fats for balancing blood sugar levels, and preventing insulin resistance – a common side effect of stress. Folic acid, pantothenic acid, and vitamin K to reduce stress levels and improve the health of the nervous system.

20. Eggs – are quite often the underdog of the food world. They are far more complex and healthy than they get credit for. Eggs contain key nutrients and are high in protein to balance blood sugar and provide sustainable energy. Rich in B vitamins that support the nervous system they are an essential part of an anti-stress diet. They are rich in: Tryptophan to regulate mood and encourage sleep. Tyrosine to support mental activity and concentration. Protein to stimulate overall health and help stabilize blood sugar and energy levels. Pantothenic acid, the anti-stress vitamin that supports the adrenal glands.

21. Cinnamon – has long been used for medicinal purposes and studies have found that it not only lowers blood sugar levels, but also boosts energy and eases the impact of stress. Its smell has been shown to improve brain function and memory. Cinnamon is rich in: MCHP, a chemical that reduces blood sugar levels and some forms of anxiety. Anti-inflammatory chemicals to assist in heart health, protect arteries from stress related damage, and reduce muscle and joint pain. Calcium to calm anxiety and restore nervous system function. Essential oils that boost immunity and stimulate healthy digestion.

22. Cranberries – are one of the richest sources of vitamin C and other antioxidant nutrients which play an important role in reducing the damaging effects of stress. They’re full of fiber too, helping to regulate digestion and blood sugar levels. They are rich in: Phytonutrients which reduce inflammation, ease muscle and joint pain, and improve oral health, digestion and heart health. Proanthocyanidans proven to boost immunity. Resveratrol, picetanno, and pterostilbene which can help to prevent heart and circulatory damage caused by stress. Chemicals that can help to prevent ulcers.

23. Yogurt with live active cultures – the live active cultures being a very important part of the yogurt you eat. Yogurt contains probiotics (healthy bacteria) and can often be tolerated by people who are intolerant to lactose. It is a great source of calcium and the B vitamins. By encouraging the health of the digestive tract, yogurt can improve digestion, immunity, and emotional health by elevating communication between the gut and the brain. Its rich in: Friendly bacteria to strengthen the health of the digestive tract, help it absorb nutrients more efficiently, and enhance immune function. Probiotics which have been shown to positively impact the brain chemistry involved in stress, anxiety and depression. Calcium to act on the nervous system and foster restful sleep. The B vitamins for a healthy nervous system and improved relaxation.

24. Popcorn – it’s the salt and butter, other seasonings and toppings we add that create the problems associated with extra fat and calories. It includes more antioxidants than fruits and vegetables and as a whole grain it is an excellent source of B vitamins, fiber, slow release carbs and good quality protein. All that being said, if you’re not buying organic popcorn then you’re buying GMO corn which I do not recommend. Also the majority of people actually have trouble digesting corn (less so with popped corn), which can be quite noticeable when you use the bathroom after eating it. Popcorn is rich in: Polyphenols that can protect the body from disease and stress related damage. Ferulic acid which protects against cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular problems, and diseases of the nervous system. Fiber aiding in healthy digestion and enhanced absorption of nutrients from food. B vitamins to improve nerve function and help produce energy.

25.  Almonds – comprises more nutrients than any other nut and are an excellent source of vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and iron, all of which play an important role in coping with the stress of day-to-day life, and nurture a sense of calm. The healthy fats they contain help to prevent heart disease and decrease inflammation in the body. They are rich in: Vitamin E that has been shown to prevent damage caused by stress while boosting immunity. The B vitamins and magnesium for serotonin production, regulating mood and relieving the symptoms of stress. Zinc to fight the negative effects of stress. Calcium to promote restful sleep and encourage relaxation.

Last but not least,

26. Bananas – are effective little packages of energy with a host of key nutrients to help your body work at optimum levels. Most important they provide plenty of potassium which is required for a healthy nervous system and balanced moods. Bananas are rich in: Potassium to improve heart health and the nervous system, and lower blood pressure. Tryptophan to help the body produce serotonin which calms the brain. B6 to stimulate the production of oxygen rich red blood cells and disease fighting antibodies. Fiber to improve digestion and balance blood sugar.

Whew! Another long but important batch of superfood information. The connection of food to physical, mental and emotional health is becoming more and more well known, but there is always more to learn. I hope this 3 part series has given you a ton of great info to help you shop for quality, whole, fresh foods as a primary source of nutrition not just for your physical well-being, but also for your mental and emotional well-being. Add regular doses of sunshine and being out in nature to your plan and you’ll be feeling healthier, more positive and less stressed in no time. Speaking of sunshine and nature, it’s 18*C here and gloriously sunny, I’m heading out into it now.🙂

3 simple things to do this week