I am forever making batch after batch of granola. I love topping my yogurt or cottage cheese with it, and so does my daughter! It's a family hit. I find homemade far more satisfying than what I can purchase in-store. It's also one of the simplest things you can make, doesn't require specific steps/ingredients, and is generally lower sugar than store-bought.
Although my laissez-faire method of making granola would leave me with a slightly different result every time, once I nailed this consistency, I knew I had found a winning combination that needed to be documented.
What makes this recipe so good? It's the perfect balance of crunchy, sweet and nutty. You can use it as a topping or simply grab a handful on the-go as a satisfying snack. I highly doubt it will last too long in your kitchen either!
If you’re on the hunt for your next healthy dessert idea, the search is over. These almond butter stuffed dates dipped in chocolate basically taste like a turtle and I am HERE for it.
Anytime there’s chocolate involved in my baking, my daughter, Ayla, magically appears in the kitchen ready to “help” and I honestly can’t blame her. She knows she’ll likely get a taste test along the way and may even get the lick the spoon at the end. I admire her stealthy ways
So, why do I love this recipe so much? Where to start?! The base is dates, which I tell Ayla are nature’s candy because they’re just so darn chewy and sweet. They have a low glycemic index, making them an incredible natural sweetener for dessert recipes, and are a great source of potassium.
These little guys are stuffed with almond butter, making them a satisfying treat without leaving you feeling like you need to eat the whole plate. And finally, they are dipped in a dairy-free dark chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt.
I have a very special place in my heart for dark chocolate. It is my treat of choice. I have spoiled myself for life by buying high quality, organic dark chocolate with a high cacao content. It is rich and luxurious. Pro tip: keep your chocolate in the freezer. Not only does it help you limit the amount you eat in a day, making your treat last a bit longer, but I think the cold and crunch this gives makes chocolate even better. So, my chocolate lives in the freezer, always. Give it try and let me know if you agree!
This dessert is super easy to throw together. In fact, Ayla and I made it happen in about 15 minutes yesterday while her brother napped. You just have to have some patience as it sets in the fridge. To speed up the process, you can pop the plate or cookie sheet in the freezer.
This makes the perfect hostess gift or dessert plate. It looks impressive without all the work, and who doesn’t love that?
Get the recipe details below and tag me on instagram (@lindsay.m.nutrition) if you try it!
Almond Butter Stuffed Chocolate Dates
Once your baby is old enough to eat solids, but is still lacking the chompers to eat anything and everything, baby cookies, or "teething cookies" as they're sometimes called, are a must. Personally, I like to have them on hand, if nothing else, to use as an activity. Grocery shopping and the baby gets fussy? Have a cookie. On a walk and your baby is getting bored in the stroller? Eat this cookie. Need to keep baby occupied in their highchair while you prep their meal? Cookie. They're a life safer in so many situations.
That said, they can often be filled with added sugars and lack any real nutritional value. So, I decided to come up with a cookie that was easy to gum, but also provided sustenance. Enter: my Real Food Baby Cookies. It's an activity and a snack all in one, packed with fibre, healthy fats and protein.
Just beginning your baby's journey with solid foods? Check out this Intro to Solids guide, which includes my own real-life experience of my daughter's food introduction from the perspective of a nutrition nut.
I'm no stranger to coming up with a healthy swap for a classic dish, like my quinoa breakfast bowl. Dreaming up a cookie recipe that you can feel good about giving your baby seemed like the natural move. And here's the great news: it's easy! There are only 6 ingredients and you likely have most if not all of them in your kitchen right now!
You can choose to use quick oats, or grind your oats into a flour if you'd like a smoother texture. My two and half year old loves this recipe too, so if you're cooking for older kids, you could consider mixing in some raisons or pumpkin seeds for added flavour and nutrients.
Check out the recipe below and tag me on Instagram if you give them a try! Don't forget to share them with any other mamas out there who are looking to step up their baby-friendly recipe game. Our babes deserve the best :)
We've got a pretty decent meal plan happening from Monday to Friday in our house. It isn't too strict, but gives us enough structure at the beginning of the week that we feel organized and aren't scrambling at 3pm every day, wondering what the heck we're going to feed our family. My only rule (most weeks) is I don't cook or do dishes on Friday! Easily the best house rule I've ever created. And with everything going on in the world right now, it's another great excuse to support our local restaurants. It's so relaxing at the end of the week, knowing I don't have to prep dinner for anyone (except maybe Austin, depending on what we decide to order).
My second favourite day in our meal plan is Thursday, because Thursdays we like to save for pasta night. And this particular pasta dish is my current fave in our dinner rotation! It hits my flavour profile on the dot and I end up saying "mmmm" out loud every time I eat it. It's tangy, it's savoury... it's pasta. What more could you want in a dish? I can usually pick out a star ingredient in a meal, but all of the components just come together so nicely that I simply can't pick a winner this time.
I like shrimp, but you could easily swap out your protein for chicken if seafood isn't your thing. Or, you could take it the other direction and add in scallops (but for the price, maybe save those for date night).
You can use whatever pasta you'd like, but our go-to is always a quinoa and lentil noodle. From a nutrition standpoint, when compared to white or even whole wheat pasta, it just makes more sense. Quinoa and lentil noodles provide a good hit of protein and fibre, making this meal far more satiating. Our other favourite is cauliflower linguine. However, I like to order that from Natura Market and don't always have it on hand.
My favourite way to cook shrimp is with grass-fed butter, garlic and lemon. Seriously, it's a flavour explosion and if you haven't cooked shrimp in butter... what are you even doing with your life?
You can also add in whatever vegetables you'd like, but I love the sweetness of baked tomatoes and the punch of colour the broccoli gives this dish. The mushrooms add a nice meaty texture. These three make for some pretty breezy prep. A good prep hack is to wash all of your veg in a big sink of soapy water as soon as you bring it home from the grocery store (I like to use a natural concentrate). It makes prepping meals later in the week just that much easier, because all produce is already washed and ready to go.
The finishing touches of most pasta dishes should always be a drizzle of high quality olive oil and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. And with this dish, throw on an extra squeeze of lemon.
Trust me--you're going to want to add this dish onto next week's meal plan. It doesn't disappoint.
Lemon + Garlic Shrimp Primavera
There’s always a few buzz words popping up in the world of nutrition. Different seasons bring different trends (celery juice, anyone? And do you remember the cayenne and lemon juice craze 10 years ago? I vividly remember someone passing out from this one. True story). Some of these trends have valid health benefits but are often not sustainable practices. Good thing--save some celery for the rest of us, people.
The reason why it’s called a trend is that it tends to come and go. So why do people jump on board with these fleeting eating habits? And why don’t they stick around? The second question is easy to answer, in my opinion. They trend rather than stick because most of these practices aren’t sustainable. I would also suggest that most people don’t receive the magical results they are looking for, if you really dive into their reason for trying it. So after a while, losing motivation to keep up the unsustainable practice because their weight or health ideals aren’t coming true, they slowly stop their new routine. But why did they start in the first place? When it comes to health and weight loss, I think a lot of people are looking for that “magic pill.” And I get it. They are hoping that they have finally found the answer they have been searching for that will get them to that “ideal” they have in their head. But in the end, these practices rarely work, which leaves us wondering… what DOES actually work? How do people get themselves to a healthy, happy place and stay there?
This is where we find intuitive eating. It lives right here, at the end of that question. Now, there is also a huge emotional aspect that needs to be discussed here, but if we attempted to tackle that right now, this post would be a book. But know that you have to get to a place where you are ready and willing to eat intuitively and accept the benefits that it can bring to your life, despite the fact that you may not reach the ideal body that exists in your head. You need to deal with your crap and figure out why that ideal has manifested and determine how to move past it to the things that are ultimately more important, like long-term health and feeling great in your own skin, reducing your risk for chronic disease and increasing energy levels. Knowing and believing that healthy looks different in all people is an important shift here.
(Note: I had to move past MY own crap just to be able to write a post like this. There is no way that gym-rat, performance-based, aesthetics-focused Lindsay that was kicking around this blog five years ago would have the ability to write these words from an authentic place. I had to live it first)
My own journey to intuitive eating has been an interesting one and has certainly seen many seasons. Upon reflection, I think I made it here through experience, further education, shifting focus, and maturity. Before getting pregnant with my daughter, I was really into fitness and ate to support my goals. This meant learning how to track food and reach certain macronutrient goals in order to maximize performance in the gym. I am not afraid to say that I actually really enjoyed this for many months (maybe years) and treated it primarily as a hobby and learning experience. I learned a lot about using nutrition to fuel performance and even coached other people with similar goals. And although this is not how I eat today, I do believe, if used correctly, there can be a time and place for tracking and that it can be a major tool for understanding how food acts as fuel, how our body reacts to different macronutrients, and what food is made up of. That said, I also believe food tracking can lead to obsessive behaviours and can easily spiral out of control if attempted by the wrong personality type. This is extremely important. Tracking at any point in one’s life, even if just meant for a short period, is NOT for everyone and can even be dangerous.
However, after becoming pregnant with my daughter, a couple of things happened. I was way too sick and exhausted during my first trimester to even think about focusing on gym performance, and also my priorities quickly began to shift. Suddenly, I was much more interested in long-term health for not only myself, but my child. I was very aware that I was now in my 30s and started to look into my future and envision the healthy life I wanted for myself and my family as I got older. I began to eat for my overall health and not necessarily for aesthetic and performance goals. I looked at food as fuel for my growing baby and aimed to optimize my choices as much as I could to support her.
Additionally, I became incredibly appreciative of the female body and all it is capable of. I developed so much gratitude for my body and its abilities, which lead to having more compassion for myself and giving how I looked on the outside less power and importance. And so began my journey of intuitive eating and eating for long-term health.
As it turns out, it’s a much more sustainable place to live. It’s far less complicated and stressful as food tracking and works, well… forever. When you eat intuitively, you learn to turn inwards and listen to what your body needs. You nourish your body with the foods that make you feel strong, satisfied and energized. This knowing allows you to embrace flavours you instinctively love and maybe even try new recipes.
Personally, I found myself gobbling up seasonal foods and literally felt them allowed them nourishing me as nature intended through our transition from hot to cold in this Canadian climate. I didn't exhaust my will power by constantly fighting cravings, but learned to enjoy certain foods without going crazy, because I was not restricting. There was no pressure. It's a lovely lifestyle, if I do say so myself.
Would I still use food tracking and performance-based eating if the mood struck? For sure! If I decide that those goals are something I would like to focus on again, I would most likely create a hybrid of intuitive eating for long-term health plus focusing on the foods/eating style that brought me closer to my goals (i.e. no chemical laden zero-calorie drinks or sugar free pudding). It really depends on how aggressive the goal is, how badly you want it and why. I would suggest it would be suitable for a very small population.
People often wonder if different styles of eating can fit under the intuitive eating umbrella, like paleo, vegetarian or keto. I would say, yes. But it may be difficult to eat within these specific parameters without feeling the effects of “diet culture,” which can often lie within the realms of deprivation. So, that’s something to keep in mind. I’m not big on labels. Your diet may be more reflective of a keto or plant-based paradigm, but there is absolutely no need to label yourself as such. It’s unimportant. Eat to feel well. That is all.
Now, we can’t really talk about intuitive eating without addressing emotions. If we are eating intuitively, emotions naturally fit in there somehow. Can that cloud things a little bit? Very likely. If you’ve ever been an emotional eater, it can often be a result of deprivation and it’s very important to heal this first before being able to fully embrace the benefits of intuitive eating. If this is you, I really encourage you to work on this part first, either by exploring resources yourself or finding a professional to speak with. It’s an important step towards long-term health and building a healthy relationship with food.
If you want to discuss the world of intuitive eating more, feel free to reach out. I would love to support you on this journey.
I know I preach about green smoothies on the regular, and I do love starting my day off with a massive mason jar of green goodness, but there’s a new breakfast obsession that I am throwing into the rotation: the quinoa breakfast bowl.
I can’t deny that every now and then I love a good bowl of oatmeal. It’s hearty and warm and holds so many possibilities when it comes to toppings and flavours. That said, even when you buy organic (an absolute must for oatmeal), it isn’t necessarily the best breakfast choice.
As delicious as it is, oatmeal spikes blood sugar easily and can also cause bloating for many people.
So when I discovered the idea of making quinoa a breakfast food, I was pretty excited.
Quinoa is unrefined, gluten free, contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein and is full of fibre. It doesn’t have the same blood sugar effects as oatmeal, but can achieve the same breakfast results.
You can top it with whatever you want! Try nuts, seeds, cinnamon, yogurt, granola, fresh fruit… whatever your breakfast-loving heart desires. This morning, I chose chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, coconut, coconut yogurt, granola and fresh raspberries.
Will I still have oatmeal from time to time, or has it been banished from my breakfast regime for good? Of course it hasn’t. I am not an abstainer by nature. I will always maintain that sometimes food is just meant to be enjoyed. That said, I am constantly on the hunt for optimal food choices to have on a daily basis.
So, if you’re an oatmeal lover like me but have your blood sugar levels top of mind, give this swap a try and let me know what you think!
We have hit summer temps here in Ontario, and that always inspires some cooler dishes in the kitchen. Nothing says summer like BBQ and fresh salads, am I right? Ayla is a massive fruit monster. The kid would live off of fruit salad if I let her. So she was the inspiration behind this dish. It's fresh and has a nice balance of sweet and salty. The star of the show is definitely the mint, in my opinion, so if you're nurturing an herb garden this year, it's the perfect opportunity to snip some of those babies off the stem and toss them in. Although I didn't use any this time around, basil would also be a beautiful addition to this recipe.
You don't have to worry too much about a specific measurements and should definitely allow the number of people you are serving to guide you, as well as a little taste test. But here's what I used, which served 3-4:
Mint, Watermelon + Feta Salad
I was on a roll. I had this mat leave schedule figured out. I was feeding my creative side by pumping out one blog post a week and sharing regular nutrition/health/mom related content on the gram. I was really leaning into a routine, joining several group workout seshes a week with fellow mat leave-ers, and soaking up quiet moments at home with Austin while pouring into Ayla when she got home from daycare. I had it all!
And then COVID hit. A tragic and impossible-to-anticipate world-wide pandemic that I certainly hadn’t imagined experiencing in my lifetime. And, like it did for almost everyone, it derailed any version of normalcy and routine we had. Nearly overnight, we were all pushed into some super uncomfortable territory. All of our kids were home… all of the time. Many people were told to work from home and to avoid going anywhere or seeing anyone. Others were deemed essential and asked to potentially put themselves and their families at risk with a virus we knew little about, while carrying out duties that supported the rest of society.
Suddenly, my two year old was home full-time. It was an abrupt full stop on the daycare scene, picking Ayla up at 5 on a Friday and learning by 6:30 that their doors would be closed on Monday. I was forced to quickly navigate life at home with a newborn, as well as with a busy toddler. All parents were asked to keep their children entertained, happy and educated without leaving their homes or relying on the support of anyone else. Working parents were asked to do this while simultaneously keeping up with their full-time work schedules and figuring out a new way of getting this done from their, likely, non-existent office.
We’re in month three now, so I don’t need to go on about how unnatural these asks were. I don’t need to tell you that we were never meant to live this way and do it all. You know this. I know this. But we’ve all had to figure it out anyway. Because when there is no other choice, humans adapt and evolve. That’s how we’ve managed to survive on this planet for so long.
So, like everyone else, I pushed through the growing pains (and, oh, were there growing pains). I am not afraid to tell you that I was in a dark place for a few weeks, mostly mourning the loss of the cushy mat leave life I had been lucky enough to create for myself, but also dealing with the incredibly hard transition for Ayla, which presented itself through big, sporadic emotions for the first month (her’s… mostly). It was rough, to say the least. And needless to say, any kind of social media presence or blogging inspiration went directly out the window, along with any other “me” time. I was struggling to find much joy in my days. I barely had time to shower. I was too busy helping Ayla through this massive life pivot--one she was too young to understand--and also taking care of the laundry list of needs of my very young children. Like most parents, I was drained by the end of the day with nothing left to give anyone. I would go to bed at night dreading the groundhog day effect I was bound to wake up to the next morning.
As if this wasn’t enough, Ayla decided to drop her nap. I legitimately couldn’t believe it. She was a new two and no nap felt extremely unfair, given the circumstances. After about three weeks of fighting her on this and wondering what kind of sick joke the universe was trying to play on me, I moved on to acceptance which, as it turns out, is an easier place to live in than denial. I began creating yet another new routine for Ayla by implementing mandatory quiet time in her room. A girlfriend introduced me to a great iPad app where a moon turns to a sun when quiet time is over and we have worked our way up to 35 minutes of independent, quiet play time. She tells me through the monitor when the sun comes up and, for the most part, is pretty good at staying in her room and playing with her books and blocks until I come retrieve her (this was after a couple of weeks of knocking on the door every 10 minutes. Teaching her that we could communicate through the monitor was key. “It’s like walkie-talkies!” I told her). Edit: today she partially ate a crayon. So… it doesn’t always go so smoothly.
Like I said, we adapt. Very slowly, we started to fall into something that resembled a routine. And, as more time passed, I tweaked that routine so that eventually it resembled something that I even enjoyed for the most part. I made it to a place where the idea of sending Ayla back to daycare made me sad. Don’t get me wrong--it will happen eventually. But we are full-out besties right now, spending every minute of every day together, and I’m going to miss her when she heads back to her classroom with her friends and teachers that she’s missed so much (my poor little extrovert).
The other thing that helped is that we basically jumped from winter straight into summer over here. Sunny, warm days that invited more outdoor play and relaxation helped everyone’s mood and opened up a few more opportunities for activity (even though we’re still missing our parks). Warmer weather also meant longer days, helping me to have more energy after the kids had gone to bed, to do more things for myself, or at least for the family, that left me feeling accomplished. Getting outside for a solo walk or errand, or spending some time in the garden, all made me feel a little more human again and gave me a chance to regain some sanity after a busy day fulfilling the needs of my kids.
So, here we are, like everyone else who was asked to navigate these unchartered waters, three months deep and feeling like we’ve done not too badly. The thing about discomfort is that you will almost undoubtedly break through the other side a little bit stronger. That uncomfortable feeling is where the change lives. It’s where you do the work to emerge a better human than before. And for this, I am thankful. I also have a lot of gratitude for this unexpected time with Ayla. At first, I mourned the loss of the mat leave I had envisioned and had guilt around the attention I wasn’t able to give Austin. I think these were important emotions to acknowledge and work through, but eventually I was able to let it go. Although very hard, at first, to balance a newborn and busy two year old, I can say with confidence that I know and understand Ayla on a very deep level, something I never would have gotten without this amount of time together.
As difficult as some days have been, a lot of good has come from this strange, strange time in history. I am thankful for being pushed into a slower-paced and simpler way of living. It allowed me to stay present with my kids and not worry if something wasn’t getting “done” all of the time. Nowhere to go and no one to see meant agendas weren’t so important anymore. As more information becomes available, strict distancing guidelines lift and businesses begin to reopen, I am thankful for the joy that very simple activities bring me today. Things I wouldn’t have thought twice about a few months ago now make me so happy (coffee from a local cafe, a walk with a good friend, time alone to read a book--time alone to do anything, really).
So that’s us. Despite it all, we managed to push through the dark days and come out the other side a little bit stronger and pretty happy. With a new-found comfort and routine, I’m looking forward to getting a little bit more content out and rejoining the rest of society again (even if it’s just virtually or from a six foot distance).
Tell me: how are you doing?
Sometimes I wonder if it just seems like the topics I’m interested in are becoming mainstream because I live in a sheltered “wellness bubble”, as I like to refer to it as. I surround myself with other health and wellness junkies and it can appear that the vast majority of the population is living a somewhat similar lifestyle to my own. Luckily, something eventually pops that beautiful bubble and I am faced with the reality that, of course, this really isn’t the case at all. Although I do believe more and more people are taking steps to lead a healthier lifestyle in general, there is still such a long way to go in terms of educating the masses on important health related issues and lifestyle choices.
It took me a while to even start this post because of its scope. Low-tox living has been at the forefront of my mind lately, but there is just so much to say about it and so much ground to cover, that the idea of writing about it seemed daunting. Too big. And you know how I have a tendency to ramble on… I want to say it all, but that would mean writing a book, not a blog post.
So I decided the best thing to do was pick one area of focus per post and today I am choosing clean beauty.
When I first began to detox the body and our home, I started with food. I slowly switched out conventional foods for organic ones and made the added cost of quality, chemical-free foods work for us because it was deemed priority. That was many years ago now. However, one of the last things I did was switch out my makeup for clean, chemical-free (or at the very least, highly reduced) products. And I’m probably not alone in this. Women become particularly attached to their beauty potions and lotions. We have specific brands and products that we’re loyal to and have been using for years. Letting go of that relationship and stepping outside of the comfort zone of knowing what gives you your desired look is a little scary. And, quite honestly, can leave you a little grumpy. I think it took being bombarded with daily messages of clean beauty before I finally uncrossed my arms, rolled my eyes and said, “Fine!"
You’ve probably heard that the skin is our body’s biggest organ. What we put on our body is just as important as what we put in it.
Although I wouldn’t say I wear a lot of makeup, I wear some form of makeup pretty much every day. Even if it’s only a couple of products. I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. I’m 33 now. That’s a lot of daily chemical shit storm doses for my biggest organ… (over 5000, actually. I just checked). There are over 1400 chemicals banned or restricted in skincare products by the European Union. In the US, that number is a mere eleven. ELEVEN. My values were clear to me. Health was number one, and I just couldn’t ignore this area of my life any longer because it didn’t align.
And so began the journey of switching out drugstore (and even premium) beauty products for natural ones. These aren’t brands that you see advertised on television or in magazines. They are not in mainstream media. So even knowing where to start was difficult. It took research. I read reviews on blogs, watched YouTube videos, searched Instagram… you name it. I started with one product at a time, which made for a slow transition. But, let’s face it, makeup is expensive. Layer that on top of being reluctant to let go of your favourite products in the first place, and the switch likely isn’t going to happen over night. Between testing multiple brands and multiple products (and yes, this was a financial investment), I would say it took me close to a year before I had created a clean beauty routine that I truly loved.
But I made the switch.
And, today, I really do love my makeup.
With that, I am going to share, without bias or sponsors, products that I have fallen in love with in the world of clean beauty. I do think this is quite a personal journey because, of course, we are all different. Skin types and general makeup preferences differ. But I want to offer up my experience to help others the same way all of those internet reviews helped me when I began the careful selection of what to try next.
I think the easiest way to organize this is by brand. So I am going to start with a Canadian company whose products I adore. I tried out what felt like 25 different mascaras and, for me, Ilia came out on top. It was dark, long lasting, lengthening and included a brush I now can’t live without. I also love their foundation, when paired with an under eye concealer (a trait that was true of all foundations I tested). It’s lightweight but provides decent coverage and lasts all day.
And finally, although I don’t wear a ton of lipstick these days, I always need a bright fuchsia on hand for those rare occasions that require just a little more glam. Ilia provided great colour selection and wearability in this department that packed a punch. Beyond the products themselves, Ilia’s founder and Vancouver native, Sasha Plavsic, boasts a beautiful story of how the company came to be, inspired by her brother’s personal health struggles and her mother’s influence. This is likely a brand that will remain in my collection for many years.
Next in my makeup bag you’ll find Beauty Counter. This is a big (and loud!) player in the world of clean beauty and for good reason. I have tried a number of their products and my favourite one, hands down, is their Dew Skin. As the name suggests, this tinted moisturizer leaves your skin looking fresh and hydrated (with the added benefit of SPF). I am obsessed and use it on the daily, either on its own or under foundation. Most days I simply pair the Dew Skin with an under eye concealer and am set. I actually find when I don’t wear my Dew Skin and simply opt for a foundation, I feel like my skin looks a little dull! My second pick with Beauty counter is their mattifying powder. I use this to set an under eye concealer if I am planning on using mascara on my lower lashes (to prevent transfer) or if I need to ensure overall, long-lasting wear. It’s lightweight, not cakey and doesn’t require much on the brush to get the job done (which is also cost effective). More recently, I have also started using their highlighter. It’s not an everyday item for me, but a great option when I need a little more shimmer in my look! Speaking of highlights, if you have 12 minutes, check out Beauty Counter’s mini biography on mica, one of the key ingredients in any makeup product that gives that shimmery, sparkly look. This company is changing the face of beauty and this video is just one small example of that.
The next brand is one not as well known in Canada, I would suggest (due to accessibility), but it’s one that I simply cannot leave out because I love it THAT MUCH. Han Skincare Cosmetics won my heart when it comes to bronzer and blush. Their products are so pigmented with incredible blendability and I immediately fell in love. At first, I was forced to order from the US and pay international shipping, but can now purchase these two products via Amazon. I legit have about four clean blushes sitting in my makeup drawer right now. And as much I try to rotate them, I just can’t stay away from this one. It works so well with my skin and over my other products that it quickly became my go-to.
Finally, like most moms, I really appreciate a good concealer for nights of broken sleep and resulting under eye circles. Well People has taken care of this for me with their high coverage product. A little goes a long way and I simply apply with my finger to cover up sleepless nights and other imperfections. If you’re looking for a toxic free concealer, I highly recommend this beauty.
I am so happy to say that these products are just a drop in the bucket. The clean beauty movement is alive and happening, and I already have a few other brands on my list that I am dying to try out. This is huge because it means that low-tox living is really starting to build momentum (or maybe we’re actually just going back to how it all started in the first place? I like to think of it that way). People are demanding safer options for themselves and their families and companies are responding. It’s an exciting time in the midst of an era where we are literally exposed to thousands of toxins and chemicals every day. This is just one example of how we’re taking the power back. And that’s a beautiful thing.
As we start to settle into life as a family of four and find our daily rhythm, I’ve created a weekly routine for myself that I’m pretty happy with. I’m getting in regularly scheduled workouts (which, if you read my last post you know is a non negotiable for me), spending quality time with my family, and focusing on this blog and my own studies--all activities that I would classify as some of my favourite things. Maternity leave in Canada: it’s pretty sweet. It allows you time to really lean into the things you love. And it’s not to say that I don’t enjoy my job, but there’s nothing quite like making your own schedule and being really picky about how you spend your energy. A structured 9-5 doesn’t quite allow for the same flexibility.
Last week, I was hyper aware of how level I felt. And by level, I mean blood sugar wise. I wasn’t craving sweets the same way I have been known to (not saying I didn’t have my daily dark chocolate. Because I did. Let’s not be ridiculous). And I was just feeling super satisfied by all of my well thought-out, real food meals. I was motivated in the kitchen to create nourishing dishes for my family and feeling more creative when it came to our meal prep. Just because I am a health and nutrition enthusiast, doesn’t mean my level of enthusiasm is consistent. Like anyone, it ebbs and flows and from time to time, I fall into a rut. Sometimes life gets away from me and my planning isn’t as top notch as it needs to be, or I have a difficult time coming up with new and interesting meals that also meet my nutritional standards. I began to wonder why, exactly, I was feeling this way.
Why is it that my eating habits are better at certain times than others?
When I really sat with this, I came to the conclusion that my eating habits are strongly correlated with my overall life satisfaction. When I feel fulfilled and generally happy, as well as minimally stressed (at least in a negative way), my food intake and eating patterns are optimized. Reflecting on periods of my life when I am not as satisfied by my daily routines, have less satisfaction by my close relationships, etc., I noted that my eating habits are more likely to stray from my ideal standards. There is an obvious emotional connection.
I felt very confident in this prediction, but wanted to dive a little deeper into the theory, so I began to research whether life satisfaction impacted eating behaviours, whether or not this was a well known phenomenon, and moreover, why. It was difficult to find studies that reflected this precise idea, but I definitely came across some closely connected literature.
In one study, women were sorted into groups that aimed to help them increase their exercise, improve eating patterns and reduce weight. Results found that subjects’ mood, self-efficacy and body satisfaction strongly predicted emotional eating behaviour. Women who received in-person support in their health journey, reported increased exercise, and more positive self-efficacy and body satisfaction. They were also found to participate in emotional eating far less. The study itself concluded that multiple psycho-social factors should be addressed for optimal weight loss results.
Another study found that unmet psychosocial needs were associated with disordered eating behaviours. “Path analysis revealed that unsatisfied needs of autonomy and competence were indirectly related to disordered eating behaviours through feelings of ineffectiveness… The observed patterns suggest that persistent experience of need frustration may engender an internal sense of ineffectiveness and lack of control, which then compels individuals to engage in disordered eating behaviours in an attempt to regain autonomy and competence.” It should be noted that researchers admitted this type of thing is difficult to study in depth and they weren’t entirely happy with their model, finding there was some obvious limitations and further research should be conducted.
To be fair, these studies are looking at far more serious psychological matters than what I am referring to, but I am not afraid to draw a connection here. Based on what I have read (and what I am self reporting), I would suggest it makes sense that better/more positive food choices (as perceived by the individual) are generally made when one is feeling positively about themselves and their overall lifestyle. In other words, when everything else is in order and you are feeling organized, in control of your destiny, and satisfied by your daily routines, you are more likely to eat in alignment with your nutrition goals and ideals.
What do you think? Is this too much of a stretch? Study correlation or not, I’m pretty convinced! Tell me about your personal experiences with this.