A look inside my medicine cabinet

I used to get sick all of the time.

A common cold would quick turn into an infection in my lungs.

I’d go from sniffles to bronchitis in what seemed like a matter of minutes.

Once that deep cough took hold, it was there to stay, sometimes for months on end.

I’d soldier on. Stuff myself full of symptom-masking “medication” and antibiotics.

“It seems like every time you come home to visit you are sick,” my mother bemoaned as I crashed face down on the sofa and stayed there for the duration of my visit.

“Don’t martyr yourself,” said my colleagues at the provincial health authority where I worked (the irony isn’t lost on me now).

But people depended on me - I told myself. I had to go to work. I couldn’t slow down enough to take the time to heal. And the way I lived my life did little to prevent getting sick.

In fact, it was quite the contrary.

“I think you have a problem with your immune system,” said my roommate at the time.

I was so in denial that I actually started believe that I did have some kind of rare un-identifiable immune disease.

Though I didn’t want to admit it, the problem I had with my immune system was 100% self-inflicted.

My problem was my lifestyle, the extent to which I pushed myself to the extreme, was always running on empty, never giving my body what it needed to stay strong.

I grew up eating homegrown, wholesome food - yet I had forgotten what it meant to nourish my body.

I was addicted to over-achieving and under-sleeping.

“How did you accomplish so much at such a young age?” people would ask.

I don’t sleep! I would respond, only half joking.

I was perpetually running on empty, fueled only by adrenaline, caffeine and the odd aderroll.

Being sick didn’t change my drinking habits, it just changed what I drank.

I’ll have another hot toddy please, heavy on the whisky.

This lasted through my teens, twenties and into my thirties.

One two skip a few years and as I sit here writing this, I’m getting over a cold and I feel great.

What was an ass-kicker of a bug that circulated and took out family members and close friends with symptoms like fever, deep cough, achy body and congestion for weeks at a time left me relatively unscathed.

Day one sore throat and head cold, day two mucus factory and day three coughing it all out.



Me? I’m smiling.

Do I still wish I had become superwoman, with the ability to resist all infection?

Yes of course, that would be great.

Second to that - this scenario is pretty damn great.

What am I doing differently now, you might ask?

Now when I get sick, instead of pushing through, I stop everything. Call in reinforcements (aka ask for help). Free up all my energy for healing.

I’ve also set my life up to focus on preventing illness or disease and staying healthy, rather than as an invitation for sickness.

I eat whole foods; a plant-based diet that is high in nutrients versus calories.

I supplement with superfoods, powerful nutritional gems full of vitamins, mineral and properties that help boost immunity.

I am religious about my daily water and lemon followed by an alkaline-boosting, anti-inflammatory green juice or smoothie. (I’m talking every. single. day.)

I sleep! This reformed adrenaline junkie / psuedo insomniac who used to boast about how little sleep she needed to function now relishes in siestas and at least 7 hours a night.

I have conscientiously removed the drama factor from my life - favouring calm over chaos.

I have a soothing spiritual practice that helps ground me and nourish my soul.

I’ve kept this up with a newborn baby.

It has allowed me to ward off infection, shorten the lifespan of viruses and lesson the symptoms, and heal from surgery in record time.

I’m not saying I’m perfect.

I’m also not strict.

I eat dairy ice cream sometimes.

Occasionally I crave these green salsa flavoured corn chips and I buy them.

I don’t meditate every day.

What I can say is that my life is set up for health. The choices I make daily invite health rather than sickness into my life, and when I do get sick, my body has all the necessary tools to fight it right quick. I practice preventative medicine with what I choose to put in my body and how I choose to spend my time.

How do you set yourself up for health?

What choices can you be making NOW for a healthier you in the future?

This is what my "preventative medicine" cabinet looks like:

Staple items include: green power blend (wheatgrass, moringa leaf, alfalfa, chlorella, spirulina) mushroom blend (reishi, cordyceps, chaga, corriolus, shiitake, maitake), acai and super berry blend (gogi, wild blueberry, acerola cherry, schichandra berry), raw cacao, maca, organic green and mate teas, organic mothers health tea, liver detox tea and more.

Avoided the alcohol ... and I was a Bridesmaid!

It was the day my little sister got married. I was one of the bridesmaids, though I had had very little time to focus on the wedding as my daughter had been born 7 weeks earlier.

As we walked into the reception all at 3pm, the waiters were making the rounds with ice cold palomas, a tasty refreshing grapefruit and tequila drink.

OH MAN was I ever tempted to reach for a glass and slug it back before anyone who “knew me” (aka would judge me) noticed.

It had been a long day and I really felt like I’d earned it. 

I was up before dawn to shower and bundle my infant and I into a taxi to the other side of town to get our hair and makeup done. At 9am my sister arrived and we helped her get ready. By just before 12pm we were at the church for the Catholic ceremony.

Then it was photos at my dad’s house in the baking mid-day Mexican heat, then before I even had time to drink half the smoothie my mom had thoughtfully prepared for me, we were rushed to the reception hall to be with my sister as she made her grand entrance.

I was tired and parched. But more than that, I really felt like I deserved a drink. I had been focused on intense healing for almost two months since my daughter's birth. I had given my body and my life 100% to the birth and nurturing of my baby. Didn’t I deserve to let go a bit, do something fun and what felt like slightly reckless?

The thought even crossed my mind that on an empty stomach I’d get a buzz faster.

What was that all about?? Was I supposed to thank the Universe for yet another opportunity to observe how alcohol was still engrained as my “reward system” as well as my automatic stress reliever and let-loose-er??

I paused and went and stood in front of a fan. I looked at my sister who was radiant - truly beaming positivity and love. I took in the beauty of the room, the details of the decorating. I took a few deep breaths, and ordered a mineral water and grapefruit juice.

It tasted delicious and was obviously even more thirst quenching than the tequila-laden variety.* (see below for an even better alternative)

My angst-ridden moment of “to drink or not to drink” passed. Pitchers of fresh “aguas de sabor” started arriving at our table in refreshing combinations such as pineapple, lime and cucumber.

It took me awhile to realize there was not a single drinker of alcohol at our table, and everyone was having a great time.

At one point in the evening I noticed trays full of whiskies being taken to the tables of the “drinkers.” With no judgement, just simply observing, I watched another group get drunk and remembered the days when that would have been me.

Free booze?? Yes please, I’ll drink as much as I can.

Worried about getting too drunk in front of relatives of my (now ex) partner? No worries, just pop some adderall or do a couple lines.

Back to the present... when the dancing started, I felt some hesitation. I hadn’t danced in what felt like years, though really it was since the beginning of my pregnancy. I felt out of shape and weak. I suddenly was overcome with weird anxieties like, “what if I can’t find the beat.” (For those of you who know me - know that dancing is a huge part of my life and I have spent years teaching dance and helping others find their rhythm). This fear was, of course, ABSURD. 

So again, a couple of deep breaths and the intention of letting go of all of this silly self talk that did not serve me one iota. 

I got out of my head and into my body and soon enough, this happened:

When I first saw the picture I laughed - if I didn’t know me, I would think: “Drunk bridesmaid alert!!”

Then I started thinking - why do we associated vivacious, extroverted, wild abandon with being inebriated?

The truth of the matter is that I embody those qualities, with or without alcohol.

Sometimes I need to get my head out of the way to let my body be guided by my spirit - and when I can do this - well, the photo is proof of what’s possible.

I wanted to share this because IT IS POSSIBLE FOR YOU TOO!

Whenever you start to feel overwhelmed, anxious or too much “in your head” - take a few deep breaths, ground yourself and do what you can do get out of your head and into your body.

Ringing in the New Year with New Intentions

I rang in the new year with my two loves, sitting on the 2nd floor terrace of our new home.

Our house is off the grid and therefore we were surrounded by relative darkness.

We are up on a hill, with a view that stretches towards the town, and beyond.

At midnight, the sky lit up with four different displays of fireworks. It was incredible.

Though I have spent 4 years of New Years in this town, I have never had this vantage point. I would have been on the beach looking up at one set of fireworks, in the thick of a party, raucous and loud and the lights accompanied by booming overhead.

This year, I was removed from the intensity. The booming was distant. Instead screams, the sounds of the sensual latin guitar being played at our neighbour’s filled our ears.

Until this New Year’s eve, I had no idea there were so many displays of fireworks spread across the districts of our town.

I was struck by the symbolism - or maybe it was I who infused the moment with meaning - because I was reflecting on how different my life is this year than in previous years.

Stuck in the fray, wanting to be a part of everything, distracted by the noise... I had no idea of the beauty and tranquility that could come from stepping away from the party.

While I may have suffered from severe FOMO before, I now realize that instead of missing out, my horizon has expanded and I am able to see, feel, and experience more than I ever thought possible.

I’ve accomplished a lot in the past year that I am really proud of but that’s not what was was going through my mind during the countdown to ring in the start of 2015.

Instead, I was overcome by emotion thinking about is how different I FEEL.

I probably overuse the word bliss but I really cant think of a better word to use a lot of the time. I feel pure, undiluted BLISS.

PRESENCE. I didn’t really understand this word while I was still deep in my drinking and addiction to overdrive. I am able to embody every moment, to feel everything - the highs and lows - for what they really are. I used to have such a hard time sorting through my feelings, I’d get confused, I’d stumble when I tried to communicate to loved ones, I would be raw, overtired, hungover and those added ingredients made it so much harder to understand what was really going on for me.

People around me describe a new sense of TRANQUILITY radiating from me. It’s an interesting perspective considering that fact I lived my life at a whirling, chaotic pace for so long.

Though this year was full of physical challenges, I feel more STRENGTH than ever before. My body is the healthiest in all of my adult life. It is easy to make good decisions around what to eat, when to sleep and how to nourish my physical temple.

I embody and emanate LOVE. Plain and simple. With every choice I make to treat myself with the utmost respect, to uphold the highest version of myself, to align myself with the sacred and divine... I am love. I am love for myself and I have so much to share in a way that feels so authentic and natural, that I am never depleted.

This coming year, I want to feel abundant, effusive, effervescent, connected, sage and joyful. I will align my intentions towards this feelings.

How do you want to feel?