Smoothie pick-me ups

Caretaking can be a 24/7 role. Whether your loved one lives in the same house as you, or you provide support from across town or even a different province, caring TAKES ENERGY. After a night of interrupted sleep, or fatigue from all you’re doing to make sure the other person is alright; you might really appreciate having some accessible ways to boost your energy.
My nutrition savvy friend introduced me to the Oh She Glows cookbook, which contains a whole range of healthy, energizing vegan recipes. These two smoothies sound super refreshing, and though the ingredients aren’t terribly exotic, having all of them in your kitchen does take a little pre-thought.
These flavour combinations will give you an infusion of vitamins and minerals, and hopefully make you feel able to tackle whatever the day has in store.

All Day Glow Green Smoothie

From http://ohsheglows.com/2016/05/18/all-day-glow-green-smoothie/   -Recipe by Angela Liddon

Keep in mind this is a large batch that just fits in a 64-ounce high-speed blender, so if your blender is smaller you might want to make a half batch. I love to have a glass first thing in the morning, and another in the afternoon. Since there’s no banana in it, it also keeps well until the next day when stored in an airtight container. Be prepared to feel that “all-day” glow!!

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Yield
5 cups
Prep Time
10 Minutes

Total Time
10 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (250 mL) coconut water
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) mango juice (I love Happy Planet Organic Mango juice)
  • 2 large (400 g total) Granny Smith apples, cored and roughly chopped
  • 2 cups (70 g) packed red leaf lettuce or romaine
  • 2/3 cup (18 g) loosely packed fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/3 cup (15 g) packed fresh cilantro leaves*
  • 1/2 cup (70 g) frozen mango chunks
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) packed avocado
  • 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste
  • 2 small, pinky-sized pieces (12 g total) peeled fresh turmeric**
  • 5 to 6 large ice cubes, or as needed

Directions:

  1. Add the coconut water and mango juice into a (64-ounce) high-speed blender. (If your blender is on the small side, you may want to make a half-batch.)
  2. Now add the rest of the ingredients. Blend on high until super smooth. If you have a Vitamix, use the tamper stick to get things moving. Taste and adjust sweetness if desired. If it’s too tart, feel free to add a bit of liquid sweetener.
  3. Serve and enjoy! Place any leftovers into an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 24 hours. I love to enjoy half in the morning, and the other half in the afternoon.

Tips:

  • * The cilantro flavour in this smoothie is quite pronounced. If you aren’t a cilantro fan, feel free to swap it with more romaine or fresh mint (start with 1/4 cup of mint).
  • ** Fresh turmeric root is becoming more and more common in grocery stores these days; keep your eyes peeled for it in the produce section.

The Blender Girl’s Mystical Mango Smoothie 
From http://ohsheglows.com/2015/08/07/the-blender-girls-mystical-mango-smoothie/

mango smoothie
This recipe is lightly adapted from Tess Master’s The Blender Girl.
“With a creamy texture and exquisite flavor, this immunity blend is a fabulous for collagen formation and glowing skin, hair, and nails. Mango’s enzymes and vitamins A, C, and E cleanse the liver and aid digestion, and its potassium and fibre help regulate blood pressure and cholesterol. This one will make your heart happy.”   -Tess

Yield
4 cups (2 servings)
Prep Time
5 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups orange juice
  • 1/2 cup water, or more if needed
  • 1/4 cup avocado
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
  • 2 cups frozen mango (I used an entire 300g bag)
  • Pure maple syrup, to taste (optional – I added a teaspoon)

    Directions:

  1. Add all of the ingredients into a high speed blender and blend on high for 30-60 seconds, until smooth and creamy. If using the Vitamix, you can use the tamper stick to get things moving. If the mixture seems too thick you can thin it with a bit more water.

Tips:
Note: You can boost this smoothie with 1/2 teaspoon wheatgrass powder, 1 teaspoon chia seeds, and 1 teaspoon of flaxseed oil.

Let us know how you like these blends.  We’d also be glad to hear about any of your favourite smoothie combinations!
-Karyn

Mindful Monday no. 82 – How to Tap In to Your Intuition

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The definition of intuition is, “to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning.”

How often do you pay attention to your intuition? Do you follow it?

Making decisions based on intuition can seem like a scary concept to those who are distanced from following their gut instincts. It’s possible that you’ve made decisions in the past based on your intuition and it has led you down a path you didn’t want. You might want to ignore your intuition because you want to protect yourself from getting hurt, or you’re nervous about what could change in your life. You may be imagining different situations when you’ve ignored your intuition because of the question that normally follows, which is, “What if…?” The “what if” questions we ask ourselves can prepare us for some things, but they can also prevent us from taking a chance on something new or cause us to stay in negative situations for too long.

Have you ever seen something happen or seen someone do something and thought, “I knew it.” That’s your intuition. Have you said no to an opportunity and then felt a physical pain in your stomach or chest when you’ve thought about what you missed out on? That’s also your intuition.

Why is intuition important for caregivers? Tapping in to your intuition can help you notice when something is amiss with your loved ones and trigger you to take action. It can let you know when it’s time to ask health care professionals questions that you might normally stay quiet about. Listening to your intuition can help you notice when you’re doing too much and might need to take a break or get some help.

As mentioned, tapping in to and following your intuition can be challenging when you’re not feeling confident that it will lead you in the right direction. If you’re ready to see what it can feel like to get in touch with your intuition, try the guided meditation below.

When was the last time you listened to and followed your intuition? We’d love to hear from you in our comments!

 

Cassandra Van Dyck

Finding the humour no matter what

When was the last time you had a really good belly laugh? At any age, it feels liberating to laugh without holding back. Whether a humorous joke tickles your funny bone or you recall a silly moment you shared with a friend, finding a reason to laugh is so important. You might be feeling stressed to the max about a loved one’s health decline, or overwhelmed with your to-do list. On other days, anxiety and feelings of insecurity might loom large, making it seem impossible to find life’s brighter side.
Think of laughter as medicine for your spirits- freely received and abundantly powerful. Even when life feels uninspiring or downright gruelling, finding the humour somewhere has an impact on your health.

Laughter is healthy because it:
Gets the oxygen moving through your system. Hello energy!
Helps unstick your mind from its worries for a few minutes.
Pushes the reset button and introduces new possibilities.
Gives you the chance to share a joyful moment with someone.

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You have permission.
Having a chuckle doesn’t mean you’re disregarding the importance or weightiness of whatever situation you’re in, yet it allows you the chance to breathe a little in the midst of the challenges- to rise above the hardships for a moment and gain some energy for the long road. Many caregivers find that sharing a bit of dark humour with good friends helps them find perspective, and deal with stress. For example, seeing the lighter side of an unusual or surprising interaction with your loved one can boost your comfort level in seeing the humour within an otherwise hard scenario.

This looks like a fun little book, filled with quips that range from classic to modern day humour. https://www.amazon.ca/Little-Book-Humorous-Quotes/dp/0578086433/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1497394380&sr=8-1&keywords=humorous+quotes

What made you laugh recently? Please share.

-Karyn

Mindful Monday no. 81 – 5 Mindfulness Apps

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“You have only moments to live.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn

Sometimes you need to tune in to tune out, and a mindfulness app might be the tool you need to get you there. There seems to be an app for everything these days, and mindfulness is no exception! Our devices our a huge factor in our struggle with mindfulness, so it might seem counter intuitive to log on to an app to help you be present, but receiving a notification to remind you to put down your phone or having a voice on hand to guide you through a meditation at the click of a button can be incredibly useful.

Interested in trying one out? Read on for some mindfulness app suggestions!

Insight Timer | Over 2,000,000 guided meditations, offering everything from binaural beats, chanting and mantras, to mindfulness for releasing anxiety. Oh, and it’s free!

Headspace | This app is great for beginners or anyone who is struggling to fit meditation in to their day. It asks only 10 minutes a day from subscribers and checks in with you daily to make sure you’ve taken the time to listen to their guided meditation. Sign up is free, but there is a cost after the introduction period.

Smiling Mind | A not-for-profit organization that is trying to make mindfulness available to everyone, Smiling Mind provides mindfulness programs for people of all ages and needs.

Stop, Breathe & Think | This app is helpful for anytime you’re in the throws of an intense emotion and need to re-centre. The app lets you check in and then guides you through a short breathing exercise. You can try it for free!

Mindfulness Apps | An app with meditations by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, aka the meditation guru.

Have you tried any mindfulness apps? We’d love to hear what’s worked for you in our comments!

Did you like this post? Please share it with a friend!

 

Cassandra Van Dyck

 

 

Foodie Friday – 3 Quick Lunches

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Do you struggle to eat healthy, satisfying lunches? Do you find yourself on the go, hungry, and without any food on hand?

Lunches just might be the hardest meal to prepare and eat because we’re often out of the house when we get pangs of hunger. You might manage to eat breakfast but can’t find the time to make and pack a lunch to take with you. Often this leaves us with few healthy options to choose from and the added cost of a takeout meal.

With so much on the go, caregivers can struggle to take care of themselves. What you eat effects your energy levels and ability to face the challenges life throws your way. A healthy lunch can help you cope and give you what you need to get through the day! Read on for three quick, healthy suggestions for a healthy lunch on the go.

THE LEFTOVER MEAL | The easiest way to make sure you have a healthy lunch for the following day is to make more dinner the night before. If you struggle to cook enough to have food for another meal, try putting a portion of your meal in lunch containers at the same time you serve yourself dinner.

THE SNACK PACK | If you find it hard to sit down and eat a full meal, it might be worth considering snacking throughout the day instead. The trick here is to make sure that every snack you’re eating is packing a nutritious punch. If you tell yourself you’re going to snack throughout the day and rely on takeout options, you might find yourself eating more sugar and unhealthy fats than you’d planned. Make sure what you pack is easily accessible and contains protein, healthy fats, and protein. Try nuts, boiled eggs, avocado, an apple or banana, sprouted bread with nut butter or veggies and hummus. Experiment with different containers to see which are easiest to eat out of and clean.

THE SANDWICH | The tried and true lunch of champions. Sandwiches can be made the night before or the morning of, as long as you practice some careful layering techniques to prevent soggy bread. Nobody likes soggy bread. Need some recipe suggestions? Try this, this or this.

How do you ensure you eat a healthy lunch? We’d love to hear from you?

Did you get any good ideas from this article? Please share it!

Cassandra Van Dyck

A VE Day Poem

‘My VE Day Poem’ by WMC-SVAction Desk

Memories of a 12 year old evacuee

The war is won, it’s VE day,

A wild excitement fills the air,

Grown ups busy, children play

among the tables, standing there

in road bedecked with myriad flags

and bunting high across the street,

Women dressed in their best ‘rags’

pile tables high with things to eat.

Men pull rafters from the bomb site,

building a gigantic fire

Hitler sitting very upright,

waiting for his funeral pyre.

Earnie plays the old ‘joanna’,

favourite tunes that won the war.

Any song for just a tanner,

money goes to help the poor.

Beer and whisky flow like water,

hoarded for this special day.

Young men hang round Charlie’s daughter,

pretty as the flowers in May.

Darkness falls, they light the fire.

Flaming fingers reach the top.

Adolph sitting in a tyre,

Burns until his head goes ‘pop’.

Dance and singing follows after,

Okey cokey, Conga too,

Food and drink and lots of laughter,

Oh, it was a perfect do.

So our super day has ended,

heads are aching, feet are sore.

Still, at least they’ll soon be mended,

different from the hurt in war.

let us hope we never have to

celebrate a VE day

Be as one, just Europeans.

(This poem submitted to People’s War website by Anastasia Travers from WM CSV Action Desk on behalf of Jack Woods)

Copyright of content contributed to the Archive resides with the author.

I would also like to acknowledge on this VE day the bravery and dedication of my maternal grandparents who were both in the war: my grandfather in the army and my grandmother as a nurse.

Respectfully,

Calm Pond

5 Minutes to Relaxation: An Exercise by Jennifer Dibnah

17883525_1328058607276092_8780189336070434838_nYou might think of Yoga as a flowing, strengthening and stretching in a series of flowing movements that benefit overall health; and yes it can be!

 

But Yoga can also be used to reduce stress and help you relax. If you can breathe, you can do Yoga. The following are simple, yet effective ways that anyone can use to reduce stress and anxiety, relax and prepare for sleep, regardless of previous experience, age, or mobility. The following steps outline simple, yet effective technique using breathing to reduce stress and anxiety or to relax and prepare for sleep-regardless of age, experience or ability.

 

Get Started

 

Sit or lie down on a comfortable surface. Feel your body completely supported by the surface you have chosen. Make sure you are a comfortable temperature and will not be distracted by phone calls, animals or people.

 

1.) Place your left hand over the top of your chest (breast bone) and your right hand over your belly. (Try changing your hands around to see what works best for YOU).

2.) Relax your eyes by closing them or softening your gaze. Place your tongue in your lower palette and focus on feeling your breath at the tip of your nose. (If your nose is plugged breathe through your mouth, preferably pursed lips to slow the breath). 

3.) Draw the breath into your belly; feel your belly expand into your hand and then into your chest, pushing your belly and chest out on your inhale. Then exhale focusing on your breath moving out of your body as your hands soften towards your spine. Breathe in and out slowly counting in for four, out for four (In your mind’s eye, say to yourself “IN, 2, 3, 4…OUT 2, 3, 4… IN 2, 3, 4…OUT 2, 3, 4…”. 

Notice the pause between the inhale and exhale. Count for ten breaths (in and out equals one round) and then return to your natural breath. Notice how you feel. 

Slowly bring movement back into your body by wiggling your toes and fingers, making small movements. Flutter your eyes open and carefully ease your body into a more active position. 

 

Return to the practice whenever you need.

 

Tip: Try to relax just 5% more with each out-breath, imagining a layer of yourself dissolving each time. 

 

Do not hold your breath. If you feel dizzy or lightheaded, open your eyes and return to your natural breath.

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Jennifer Dibnah is a certified Yoga and Meditation teacher with a degree in Psychology. She teaches people how to find balance, compassion and appreciate their bodies using Yoga, Meditation, Psychology and many other techniques. Her passion is teaching people how to breathe, de-stress, manage anxiety and ultimately live their best life. 

 

Want Jennifer’s FREE 15-minute guided meditation MP3? Get it here! 

Quote and Relaxation Poem

‘Spring’ by Calm Pond

Why, pray tell

O Earth mother

this plague of insects

in my humble rooms?

 

Is it the end of

the dormant winter

the long sleep

everything suddenly alive?

 

And I, too, I suppose

with my desperate scrawl

in the dead of night

am awakening

 

Each year, a new

re birth, a new life:

a coming again.

Hope, at last

 

A quote from T.S. Eliot’s East Coker:

‘I said to my soul, be still and wait without hope

For hope would be hope for the wrong thing:

Wait without love, for love would be love for the wrong thing:

There is yet faith.

But the faith, and the love, and the hope are all in the waiting.

Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:

So the darkness shall be the light

And the stillness the dancing.

 

For the love of poetry, and all the truth and beauty it brings to life,

Your

Calm Pond

Mindful Monday no. 80 – 3 Ways to Nourish Yourself

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I was reading the latest blog post on Free + Native this morning and was struck by this line:

“…especially in the West, we focus on deprivation and overexertion. From cleanses to vigorous exercise, there is little focus on adding nourishment to our lives. In Ancient times, and still today in certain cultures, women incorporate non-negotiable rituals of self-care.”

I read it over a few times to really let it sink in. “There is little focus on adding nourishment to our lives.” Isn’t this true? Often when we feel overwhelmed and stressed, our tendency is to either work harder so things feel more manageable, or to retreat completely, which often creates more work when we return to our to-do lists and find they’ve only lengthened.

What if instead of adding more work or trying to take away stress all together, we focused on finding ways to nourish ourselves?

I love the word nourish! It reminds me of the way you feel after eating a healthy meal – satisfied, full, and energised. Eating is something we have to do to survive, and perhaps nourishing ourselves in other ways should be treated with the same importance. Read on for three self-nourishing suggestions!

Soak up the sun or bask in the shade. This is a wonderful time of year to take advantage of beautiful weather. Spending time outside can feel like a mini vacation! Grab a book or a newspaper and find a comfortable spot under a tree. Take an umbrella to the beach and slide your toes in to the sand. Close your eyes and take some deep breaths and listen to the sounds that only summer can provide.

Take a long shower. Allow the hot water to run for a little longer than you normally would. You do not have to take a cold plunge in the west coast ocean to reap the healing benefits of water! Use a shampoo that smells good and really spend time working it in to your scalp. You could even close your eyes and pretend you’re under a warm waterfall! Just remember to hold on to something for safety.

Make your bed the most comfortable place in your home. Treat your room like a sanctuary. Wash your sheets and tidy up your space so you feel relaxed as soon as you open the door. Consider trying some sleep rituals or a morning routine to help make a calming environment for you to relax in.

In what ways do you nourish yourself? We’d love to hear from you!

Were you inspired by this post? Please share it with your family and friends!

Cassandra Van Dyck