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.

11 alternatives to wine for relaxation

For many social, casual or even habitual drinkers, it seems like the desire to often drinking falls into two main categories:

Drinking to relax/relieve stress OR drinking to celebrate/have fun

This week, I’m going to focus on alternatives to the first category with 11 things you can do to relax/relieve stress instead of drinking.

Need week, being my birthday week and all, I’ll focus on a list things you can do to celebrate and have fun, instead of drinking.

How to relax and relieve stress without alcohol?

This is something that comes up a lot in the groups I’m a part of and with my clients.

I know there’s a part of me that still pines for a glass of red wine at the end of a long day or stressful day. Yesterday was certainly one of those days.

Here are 11 alternatives to alcohol that I used with great frequency:

  1. Go for a walk. Get outside and into nature if you can! Stuck in the middle of a city? Find a planetarium, atrium, or aquarium to visit.

  2. Have a delicious aromatherapy bubble bath. Use scented blends specifically focus on calm, relaxation, or sensuality.

  3. Light candles. Again, pick floral or plant-based scents which stimulate the limbic system and life force energy, or “food-based” smells like cinnamon, vanilla etc that provide comfort and coziness, while they turn on our senses.

  4. Drink tea. Make sure to have your tea cupboard stashed with aromatic and delicious teas. I love teas that are named with a desired feeling, such as pleasure, calm, zen, relax etc. I find it helps trigger and tell me brain that that’s the experience I’m looking for. Pukka is one of my favourite tea bag brands. I also love teas with roibos as a base, and accents of honey, chocolate, cocoa, rose, vanilla. Remember that you are trying to create a sensory experience for yourself, so enjoy the taste and aroma.

  5. Drink cacao-based drink. If tea is not your thang or not rich enough for the moment, try a hot cocoa made with raw cacao. It's rich in tryptophan, which is a powerful mood-enhancer, crucial in the production of serotonin, which diminishes anxiety and has the same impact as love in our brain. Maca, a powered root from Peru, is also a great additive to your cocoa. It’s amazing for balancing hormones and is a great adaptogen that helps decrease stress levels. (See recipe below)

  6. Call a friend. Open up about how you are feeling. Ask her to tell you some jokes.

  7. Stretch or do yoga while listening to relaxing music.

  8. Have sex or give yourself some self-pleasure, or better yet, BOTH!

  9. Treat yourself to a movie, or go to the theatre.

  10. Cook a delicious meal. Again, go for sensory overload with beautiful colours, tastes and textures.

  11. Book a massage or spa treatment. Go to a sauna or hot tub. Get hot and let your body relax.

The more of these tips that you can combine into one evening, the better! Think setting the mood and romancing yourself into blissful relaxing. Or, enlist a friend or lover to help you out if you don’t feel like being alone.

I know that none of these will exactly replace that glass of red that you might be craving.  However, any combo of these alternatives will serve both you and your sanity, ease you into relaxation and calm the internal storm or stress.

Have I missed any tips? What are your favourite wine (or other alcoholic bevvy of choice) replacements? I’d love to hear in the comments!


Cacao-based drink recipe:

Blend 1 Tbs raw cacao, 1 tsp maca, 1 Tbs coconut oil, 1/s tsp vanilla powder, and your sweetener of choice (maple syrup, honey or stevia) with 1 cup hot almond milk or other dairy alternative. Hmmmm

Celebrate the season with these health-supporting drinks

As I sit writing this, the air feels chillier on the Westcoast of Canada, and those around me are bemoaning the "end of summer."

The following drinks pack a lot of flavour AND health benefits, in addition to using ingredients are are in season and will support your transition through the seasons. That's a lot to celebrate, so don't let the changing seasons get ya down.

The first two recipes feature basil, which is the perfect ingredient this time of year for its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as being loaded with vitamins and minerals. Blackberries have one of the highest antioxidant levels of all the fruits, reduce risk of cancer and can promote the healthy tightening of skin tissue (hello, anti-aging!). BOTH basil and blackberries have high amounts of vitamin K, which promotes muscle relaxation. So kick back, relax, and enjoy!!

Blackberry Basil Lemonade


1 cup (or more) blackberries

1 cup water

10 Basil leave of sprigs

3 lemons

1 tablespoon of agave, honey, or liquid stevia

Muddle the blackberries and water together in a glass jar, then lightly muddle or crush basil leave and add. I did this in the morning and let this mixture sit all day.

Mush the mixture around some more, then strain the seeds.

Add the juice of 3 or so lemons, and a Tablespoon (or more) of agave, honey or a few drops of liquid stevia, depending on how sweet you like it. Add cold water and ice to desired taste and consistency. Garnish with lemon, a few whole blackberries and more fresh basil. This should make 2-4 servings. Enjoy!

Basil Aloe Faux-jito (single serving)

In a tall glass, muddle 4-5 basil leaves and 2 lime wedges. Adding 1-2 ice-cubes will help crush. Then add 2 Tablespoons Aloe Vera Juice, a few drops Stevia, and fill the glass with soda water and more ice. Garnish with lime and basil. Pictured paired with kombucha on tap! The picture was taken at The Coastal Cookery and the recipe was inspired by their delicious River City Breeze. If you are ever in Powell River, British Columbia (Canada) be sure to check them out! See below for some of Aloe's health benefits.

If you feel like you may have over-indulged this summer, stocking up on aloe vera juice can help you detox. Aloe vera juice is an ideal way to do this because it contains many trace elements, vitamins and minerals that can help the body deal with daily stresses and strains. It's also known to be anti-inflammatory, promote digestion and healthier skin, provide an immunity boost, support weight loss and energy regulation AND help alkalize the body. ALL GOOD THINGS as we cleanse the support and support the transition of the seasons.

Check out my friend Caitlin's recent blog on cilantro for other great detox suggestions. Click here for the link to her page.

And don't forget to sign up for my FREE Super-Charge September tele-class, where we will cover strategies for using September as a "reset" month, creating intentions and sticking to them, and morning detoxes and rituals that will support energy and clarity all day long! Click here to sign up for the class. It's going to be great and I'll send out the recording even if you can't make it live.

Now... go play outside!


Bye bye alcohol, hello alkaline - nutrition for healing from alcohol overuse.

I was watching a show called Drugs Inc recently. A well intentioned police officer was going to visit a group of women who were incarcerated due to prescription drug-related convictions. The women themselves were users, and he was conducting informal recovery meetings in jail.

He showed up with a bag full of cookies, chocolate and sodas as offerings for the inmates, before settling in to lead the meeting.

Now, this man's intentions were good. He was trying to help these women get their lives back on track and these treats were certainly greeted with a lot of enthusiasm by the women he was visiting. It struck me how misguided and misinformed most people are when it comes to the connection between nutrition, detox from alcohol and drugs, and healing.

All too often, we look for quick fixes, replacing one substance with another so we don't have to deal with deeper pain.

Full disclosure here - when I started going to 12-step meetings, I felt incomplete without a cup of coffee in hand. Often, I ate something sweet before the meeting too - but if I didn't, I knew that without a doubt there would be something on hand once I got into "the rooms."

I actually felt stronger - more able to face the potentially difficult and emotional topics that might come up -  if I was slightly high on caffeine and sugar. Reflecting back, there are a few layers to this. First, I was replacing one substance with another, stuck in perpetual cycles of chasing the 'lows' with food or caffeine-related highs. Second, I wasn't ready to be completely with myself - needing an emotional crutch to keep me from feeling too deeply.

These two topics are deep - and there's no way I do them both justice in one blog post. So today I'll write about the physical relationship between nutrition and healing from alcohol, which is usually the first we need to attend to anyways, and next week I'll dive deeper into the emotional connection between nutrition/food and healing from alcohol.

There is A LOT to learn about when it comes to nutrition for healing from alcohol - my goal here is to get you started with the basics. I should also say, the info here is just as relevant to detoxing from sugar, because alcohol and sugar essentially do the same thing in your body.

This approach is important whether you are simply recovering from a "big night out," taking a break for awhile, doing a cleanse or detox, or deciding to eliminate alcohol for good. One very important caveat though - if you are dependant on alcohol - ie, you can't get through a day without alcohol without experiencing physical withdrawal symptoms, it is very important that you consult with your doctor for medical assistance.

The first important step to heal from alcohol (or sugar) overuse is to return your body to a more alkaline state, rather than the "acidic" state that most of us are living in these days. How do you know if you are overly acidic? If you suffer from any kind of inflammatory disease, if you have an addiction or dependency, if you crave sugar, if you have low energy (fatigue or tiredness), if you eat meat and dairy products and fatty, fried and/or cooked foods and drink alcohol... you are likely acidic.

Since one of the first symptoms of being overly acidic is low energy... it's really important to get out of this state to aid in our healing. Why? Because if we don't, we're much more likely to keep reaching for what we think might get us feeling better (even temporarily) be it sugar, alcohol, snack foods, etc.

The absolute fastest way to restore the bodies natural ph balance is to overload on alkalizing foods (in addition to limiting the acidic foods listed above). The biggest and easiest category of alkalizing foods is... green foods!! Preferably consumed first thing in the morning, when you body is thirsting for goodness and ready to absorb every last mineral and vitamin you send its way.

This is why, when working with my clients, one of the first steps I recommend is a healthy morning ritual, focused on alkalizing the body. Here are a few easy steps to take:

  1. Start with a glass of water and lemon juice, or water and organic apple cider vinegar, both of which immediately are put to work balancing the ph in your body.

  2. Next up, green juice! This is a veggie based juice - ie NOT SWEET, and loaded up with cucumber, celery and leafy greens, all chock full of nutrients, and, you guessed it - super alkalizing... (check out my favourite recipe below - I drink this daily)

  3. Superfood smoothies. Now, I realize it's not everyone's fav thing to be drinking sour and "earthy" drinks first thing in the morning, nor will this satisfy your cravings right away or fill you up. Superfoods are alkalizing and combined in a delicious smoothie, can give you flavour and fulfillment. Superfoods are essentially calorie sparse and nutrient dense, meaning you get a lot of nutrition without making your body work hard to get it (and foods that make your body work hard to digest cause, yup - acidity). Superfood smoothie ingredients can include chia, raw cacao, gogi berries, blueberries and other berries, avocado, coconut water and young coconut meat, ground flax, maca, kale and/or spinach, spirulina and almond milk.

    Then for later in the day:

  4. Eat nutrient dense root vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, yams, carrots and beetroot. These vegetables help ground your energy during the potential high and lows you might be experiencing while healing from alcohol. Juicing beetroot (great with carrot and apple added it) also helps deliver methyl to the liver, which helps detoxify and heal.

  5. Add more salads and veggies and healthy fats (nuts and avocado) whenever possible. Keep lots of healthy snacks on hand for when cravings happen.

  6. Take supplements. Milk thistle and garlic help the liver detox. L-glutamine (an amino acid) powder can be to smoothies or taken in pill form. L-glutamine has been shown to regulate blood sugar levels and help to reduce alcohol and sugar cravings.

  7. REST!! Super important. Have you noticed that when you are tired or stressed out, you are more likely to reach for comfort foods or succumb to cravings? It is always important to give your body enough rest, and especially important when there is some serious healing going on. Treat yourself gently. Lavish self-love and self-care, and make sure you are getting enough sleep.

I'd love to know if this information is useful to you - so please let me know in the comments. It's also always great to share recipes - what's your favourite green juice or superfood smoothies? Questions? Let me know!

To your health and healing,


Here's my recipe for my daily morning green juice:

Makes about 32 ounces

2 cucumbers (peeled if not organic)

4-5 celery

handful kale, spinach, collard greens, romaine or other dark leafy green

1/2 cup cilantro or parsley

1 apple

1 broccoli stalk

1 inch piece of ginger (optional)