Optical Illusions – Cycling Eye Gear

This video explains why protective eye gear is important when you cycle and demonstrates a brand of glasses I use. They are extremely, affordable, versatile and allow you to see better while cycling through various conditions.

 

Do This Every time You Ride a Bike

Give your bike a good once-over before each ride in 5 easy steps.

Check your bike, check your kids’ bikes, check your mother’s bike – just check and then go have fun!

The ABCD Quick Check 

A = Air

Air: Make sure you have ample air in your tires. It’s dangerous to ride with low tire pressure and really bad for your rims. Also… the more air you have in your tires, the faster you go!

B = Breaks, Bell & (handle) Bars

Breaks: To check your breaks, apply pressure to one break first and then drag your bicycle forward. If your bike skids along the pavement, your breaks work. Do the same for the other break. If either of your breaks don’t cause your bike to skid when you push it forward, DO NOT RIDE!

Bell: It’s the law to have a bell on your bike here in Ontario (or a horn or a gong – exactly… a gong? It’s true, check the Highway Traffic Act). Make sure your bell is working, easy to reach in a riding position and fastened tightly.

Bars: I didn’t mention this in the video but you want to make sure your handle bars are in good working ordering and not loose.

C = Chain, Cogs and Cranks

Chain: Check to see if your chain is on properly. Look to see if it’s rusty and almost falling off. If it looks good, go ride your bike.

Cogs: These are the spiky discs that your chain moves around. You have 2 sets of cogs – check them both. Make sure everything looks good. No funny business.

Crank: The cranks attaches to your pedals. Grab the cranks and try to wiggle them back and forth. There should be no play in the crank, meaning, it’s solid and doesn’t wiggle.

D = Drop Test

Drop: Pick your bicycle up about 1 foot off the ground and drop/bounce the wheels down. Listen and watch to see if anything shakes, rattles or rolls off your bike. With the drop test you should only hear a really solid sound when the wheels hit the ground. If anything sounds like it’s about to fall off, go in for closer inspection and tighten what’s loose, or get your bike in for repair.

Quick Check

Quick Check: Inspect your quick release levers to make sure they are on tight and that they are pointed up and are flush with your front forks. This helps prevent stuff from getting collected in there and loosening your levers (like tall grass or other weird stuff you could be cycling through).

I hope you’ve enjoyed this lesson in bike safety and you’ll put it to good use. Please help share this message wide and far. These 5 simple steps could save you from injury!

Happy Cycling!

Eggcellent Beginnings

Poached Egg atop Sautéed Kale

Poached Egg atop Sautéed Kale

What you have for breakfast has an important impact on how your blood sugar levels will behave for the rest of that day! Starting your morning off with a healthy protein and veggies is an incredible way to give your body and brain what it needs to see you through thick and thin. If you start off with a sugary breakfast, your body will crave sugar all day long and send you on a wild ride of sugar crashes and cravings.

This morning I made a poached egg and placed it atop a bed of sautéed kale, along with chopped sun-dried tomatoes and yellow bell pepper. For added fun I squeezed fresh lemon juice over the kale to bring out its delicious flavour and help my body absorb the maximum amount of iron from the dark leafy greens as possible. If you’re someone who is low in iron, this little trick with help you get the maximum amount of iron out of veggies like kale and spinach.

6 years ago when I was visiting my super-star Nutritional Therapy Practitioner friend Margaret Floyd of Eat Naked I was wowed by the amazing breakfasts she would create. Many a morning we enjoyed poached eggs with greens (and homemade kimchi for an added digestive boost) and I couldn’t believe how INCREDIBLE I felt eating these tasty meals. I’ve you’ve never tried anything like this, I’m sure it will be love at first bite. There’s something special and delicious about egg yolks and dark leafy greens that just go so well together.

Now, when I’m looking to fuel my body well and start off my day with a truly healthy boost, this is a breakfast I go to often. To help you get started, I’m posting the recipe below. Try it out and let me know how it goes!

Poached Egg atop a Bed of Kale

Yield: 1 serving             Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 leaves of Lacinato (Dinosaur) Kale, washed and sliced into strips
  • 3 sun-dried tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 of yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 tsp of olive oil or butter
  • 1 lemon slice
  • 1 egg poached – watch how to poach an egg

Directions:

  1. Bring a small pot of water to boil, add 1 TBSP of white or apple cider vinegar to water.
  2. While waiting for water to boil, chop pepper, slice kale and sun-dried tomato.
  3. Sauté bell pepper in frying pan over medium-low heat with oil/butter for approximately 5 minutes.
  4. Add sun-dried tomato and kale. Mix occasionally. When kale turns bright green, remove from heat
  5. When water reaches a boil, crack an egg into the water (the vinegar will keep the whites together).
  6. Remove when your egg is cooked to your liking. The yolk will cook/harden fast in boiling water, so use a slotted spoon to lift it to the surface every 2 minutes to check on it’s progress.
  7. Remove egg from water when cooked. Remove excess water with paper towel.
  8. Plate the veggies and a squeeze lemon over them.
  9. Place egg on top.
  10. Enjoy immediately!

4 Minute Ice Cream That Will Melt Your Heart

Dairy and sugar-free ice cream!

Dairy and sugar-free ice cream!

Tonight I was craving something a little sweet after dinner and because I don’t eat a lot of refined sugar, I needed something healthy. It was a HOT evening so I decided to make my own version of a healthy “ice cream” treat.

I’ve seen a ton of bloggers post recipes about their homemade ice cream concoctions using frozen bananas as the base, so I took a peek in my freezer to see what kinds of ingredients I could pull together to test out this home made “ice cream” thing.

What I created was so delicious that I wanted to share the recipe with you STAT so you could benefit too!

4 Minute Ice Cream

Yeild: 2 servings          Time: 2 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 frozen banana (peel and chop before freezing)
  • 1/2 cup frozen mixed berries (I used blackberry, blueberry and raspberry)

Directions: 

  1. Place ingredients into food processor.
  2. Process on high until ingredients look smooth and “creamy”.
  3. OPTIONAL: 2 TBPS of cocoa powder.
  4. Enjoy immediately.

Here are some photos of how the ingredients looked at the beginning and at the end:

Frozen fruit in food processor.

Frozen fruit in food processor.

What it looks like when it's ready

What it looks like when it’s ready

Chocolate Coconut Power Balls

Chocolate Coconut Power BallsThe mid-morning snack attack! We’ve all been there, and this morning I was working outside at my home office when I suddenly got a massive craving for something chocolatey and coconutty and sweet. Knowing I had to be smart about what I would be putting into my body, and really wanting my treat to be delicious yet healthy, I created these these tasty little DELICIOUS treats with the ingredients I had at home.

Behold the Chocolate Coconut Power Balls! 

Yield: 10 pieces       Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (plus an extra 3/4 cup to coat balls with)
  • 1/2 cup almond butter (the kind that’s just almonds)
  • 7 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/4 tsp of sea salt
  • 2 TBSP of cocoa powder
  • 1 Tsp of pure vanilla extract

Directions:

  • Place all ingredients into food processor.
  • Mix on low or high until the mixture is nicely blended together in a slightly chunky dough.
  • Roll dough into little tim-bit sized balls and place aside on a plate or sheet of wax paper.
  • Roll balls into the extra 3/4 cup of shredded coconut.
  • Eat 1 immediately to enjoy the fruits of your labour and put the rest in the fridge for an hour to firm-up.

* Store in fridge or freezer.

If you do end up making these tasty little treats, please leave a comment below to let me know how they turned out! I

 

Lose Your Sugar Cravings

I told you that I can’t help but share great information with you that may not be workplace related (but will be wellness related). Please allow me this one indulgence as I share news about an amazing cookbook that is about to be launched.

The Naked Foods Cookbook (which can be preordered now) by Eat Naked author Margaret Floyd, and her husband Chef James (personal chef to the Stars…) is an incredible cookbook with 160 whole-foods, gluten-free, healthy recipes. I have tried some of the recipes Margaret and James featured in this cookbook and I have loved every one of them.

If you’re looking to make healthy dietary changes but have been at a loss for what recipes to try, look no further. This cookbook will soon become your family’s favourite!

We’re working on bringing their 14 Day Sugar Control Program into the workplace.

SPECIAL OFFER: 14 DAYSUGAR CONTROL PROGRAM

Pre-order your copy of The Naked Foods Cookbook and get lifetime access to the new online

version of our 14-Day Sugar Control Detox Program.

This program includes:

  • a full set of how-to videos 
  • detailed outline of the 14-Day Sugar Control Detox
  • sugar backgrounder
  • meal plans based 100% on recipes from the Naked Foods Cookbook
  • grocery lists
  • tips and tricks to make the most out of this detox
  • and so much more…!

100% of clients who’ve followed this program to a T have lost weight, improved their energy levels, and drastically reduced their sugar cravings.

This program is valued at $95, but with proof of purchase of your Naked Foods Cookbook preorder by May 3rd, 2012, it’s yours FREE!

Email your proof of purchase to books@eatnakednow.com (just forward the receipt from any of the online retailers below), and they’ll follow up with you within one business day with your personal access to this online program.

5 Foods To Avoid at Meetings

Employees love free food! In fact, many companies choose to provide meals and snacks at their on-site wellness events. We’re always surprised to find out what people think of as wellness foods.

Here’s some great information about what not to have on the menu at your next healthy workplace event:

 

1. Refined sugar – At the turn of the last century we ate on average 5lbs of sugar in a year; in 2011 some of us ate up to 120lbs, and that’s being conservative. Sugar contributes to diabetes, obesity, and hypoglycaemia and should be avoided in its refined form. Keep the donuts, muffins and danishes off the list!

2. Hydrogenated vegetable oilFat is as essential to the body as water and oxygen but people have to be careful which fats they consume. Many of the vegetable oils have been ‘hydrogenated’ to make them last longer. Hydrogenation alters the oil and creates an unhealthy form of fat. Find out if your catering company uses products with these harmful oils. Opt to add in healthy oils on from nuts, seeds, avocado, organic dairy, raw or cold pressed oils

3. White flourWhole grains provide us with fiber, protein, vitamins, mineral and even a small amount of fat. When grains are refined their fiber is stripped away, so is the good fat and much of the protein, vitamins and minerals. We are left mostly with starch and very little nutrition. White flours negatively impact our blood sugar levels and lead to overeating. Choose whole grain flours when feeding the masses at work.

4. Soft drinks – Besides being a good toilet bowl cleaner I can’t think of one good property of soft drinks. If they aren’t high in sugar, they are full of artificial sweeteners, neither of which are good for us. The high phosphorus content can strip our bones of calcium. There is no nutritional value in a soft drink and they often contain questionable, possibly carcinogenic preservatives and additives.

5. Juice – By law, juices must be pasteurized in order for them to be shelf-stable. The pasteurization process eliminates all the live enzymes and health properties of the fruits and vegetables leaving us mostly with sugar and water. Choose instead to bring in, water with freshly squeezed lemon (or orange slices) to meetings and treat staff to freshly squeezed juice as a nice, healthy option.

Eat Naked: Book Review

Book Cover: Eat Naked

If you ask my friends and family, they will tell you that I get a kick out of eating healthy foods that taste amazing. I’m not terribly interested in eating healthy foods that taste weird, or bland, or that smell funny. I love anything that has to do with eating simply and naturally. I’m a HUGE fan of creating meals that haven’t come from a box, or a can, and I love sitting down to enjoy a plate of tasty food with ingredients I can pronounce.

Quite often I am asked about this type of eating, and I sometimes don’t have the time to sit down to explain why eating this way is preferable. Lucky for me, and for what are sure to be millions of readers, a great new book has come along called Eat Naked – Unprocessed, Unpolluted, and Undressed Eating for a Healthier, Sexier You, by Margaret Floyd, a nutritional therapy practitioner, certified holistic health counselor, and a certified healing foods specialist.

In less than 200 pages, this information-packed book, explains the ins-and-outs of healthy, clean eating. If you’ve ever had questions about why eating organic meat is best, what to think about dairy, where eggs fit into your diet, if fish is okay, how to choose produce, what fats to eat and avoid, what kitchen tools you must have to make life easier, and a few (40) simple new recipes you can use to get yourself eating better, this book is for you!

This book has become my new go-to resource for inspiration and information. Don’t walk to get this book, run! It’s simply the best resource out there for eating well. If you do buy it, please tell us what you think. We’d love to hear your feedback on it.

A Funny Thing Happened On My Way Up A Mountain – Wellness on The West Coast Blog #4

Michelle & Guapo at Solstice Canyon

When I was hiking in the mountains close to Malibu, I felt overwhelmed at times by the inclines, but there was no way I was backing down. I mean I wasn’t climbing Everest or anything.

As is true for most times when I exercise, there comes a point in the journey where my mind and body get into a groove. Once the groove happens my brain clicks, and the next thing you know, I’ve switched into a motivational mode.  I begin to have realizations and new solutions to old problems.

On my hike I got in touch with how much I love being outdoors. I started remembering all of the trails I could get to within a 45 minute ride from my house. I invented all sorts of fun add-on activities I could plan, like picnics and fun snacks, etc. and I realized that if I did some or all of these things, my quality of life would be elevated. The element of exercising outdoors has been missing for me, so this set of insights really impacted me.

Aside from seeing all sorts of beautiful vistas, stopping to rest and meditate in a cave along the way and snap all sorts of pictures, the best thing I got out of my hikes in Southern California is how important moving is for our peace of mind. We arrive at amazing insights because our minds are distracted by the act of exercise.

Here is a message I received today from a friend, on this very topic.

She said, “Had a great spin this morning. Just wanted to share my ‘life-lesson’ with you. I got a hateful and hurtful email last night [from my ex-husband] but I purposely didn’t read it until I was ready to spin. The class was a good distraction. The instructor had us doing hills. I thought oh great.

The ‘a-ha moment’ came when the instructor said steep hills will always be a challenge; they will always be steep. They don’t get easier; you just get up them faster. They require the same amount of effort, but eventually not as much time. This was like a bolt of lightening hitting me and I realized that I’m so much faster these days at getting over the hurtful things my ex-husband says. I will always have to deal with the hill but my endurance and strength get me over the issues faster.”

You never know what you’ll get to the bottom of when you workout, but I know for certain, if you show-up and stick it out, you will be granted a gift that has the power to make your day. It may even change your life.

Awesome Rawsome – Wellness on The West Coast Post #3

My visit to Rawesome

After I walked the beach, dipped my toes in the sand and cruised along the shoreline to the Santa Monica Pier, I turned my focus to what would be my very first SoCal wellness adventure… a trip to Rawesome, a well known organic and raw food market in Venice California.

Being a foodie, approaching Rawesome made my adrenaline spike with excitement. I was curious about browsing the shelves of this interesting “private membership (food) club” after all I had read about it on Yelp.com.

Because Rawesome is a members only club, in order to purchase goods, one must pay an annual membership fee and sign a release form to gain buying privileges. It is common for sellers of raw products, such as diary, to require people to sign a waiver because there are potential risks associated with eating some raw foods. In an upcoming blog I will be writing more about the topic of raw milk after a discussion I had with author of the soon to be released book Eat Naked, Margaret Floyd. This will be an interesting post and one not to be missed!

.
Meanwhile, inside Rawesome, I chatted briefly with the owner, James. He says he believes people should have access to unadulterated food free from chemicals, hormones, pasteurization and genetic modification if they choose. I agree, we should be able to choose. Then he tells me never in human history have we had such regulation over what we eat, and never in human history have we had such illness associated with the food we eat. He makes a good point and I can’t help but listen.

Inside Rawesome

I walk around the market and marvel at what is available. They have a cold room with all kinds of meats, another one for different types of milk (goat, cow, sheep and I’ve heard tale of camel’s milk!). There are veggies and fruits of all varieties and some exotic ones I’ve never heard of. There is a man giving samples of raw jungle peanut butter. Did you even know that “jungle peanuts” were a food? I sure didn’t. After tasting this nut butter, I just had to have some, and so I purchased a jar for myself.

My Rawesome experience was truly awesome. Thanks to this private member’s club that allowed me to join, I’ve had the most amazing nut butter experience of my life. The foodie in me is happy but I’m left wanting a market like this closer to home.

On my journey to discover wellness on the west coast, I think my first experience was a definite hit!

So, I’m curious…what have you heard about raw foods? What are some things that others should know about eating raw? What are your favourite raw delights? I’m so eager for you to share. Please take a moment to leave some thoughts for us here.

Stay tuned for more posts about Wellness on The West Coast.

Sincerely,
Michelle