Living in the Western world, we have become so busy in life with acquiring things for the benefit of ourselves and seeking things we need, from good food to a decent jacket. Ergo, it is easy to forget about the more important things in life such as selfless giving, kindness, creative altruism and of course, love. These are things that ultimately shape the context of our human being experience and what bring us closer together. Universally, these are investments that never fail and we make a life by what we give not by what we get.
When we do good, we feel good.
How do we exercise our ‘good‘ muscles and work jointly for a greater impact in driving change in the world we inhabit? One act of kindness at a time. When we cultivate sincere generosity and kindness without expectation of reward or reciprocity, we inadvertently discover the great paradox that underlies fuller human flourishing – in the giving of self lies the surprising discovery of a happier and healthier life. So by doing ‘unto others’ we not only help those in need, we help ourselves. Above and beyond, we are all connected and no life is separate from another. No matter how big or small the act is, everything we do as an individual affects the whole.
We all want the same things – peace, justice, love. A life of significance and hope. All of us would like to believe that if we were in an unfortunate situation, someone would help us. And if we have the opportunity to be there for someone, we should have the initiative and courage to take it. With our mutual efforts and assistance, we fulfill our responsibility of cherishing every human life. Charity begins at home but it doesn’t stop there. We hope you continue to do small things with great love and continuing using this life for doing good for the world! We can still create a better humanity with one act of kindness at a time.
Good To Be Good is a community-wide effort to raise social injustice awareness and in-kind donations for various shelters, charities and non for profit organizations.
September 1, 2016 – Red Door Family Shelter
December 2016 – Details To Follow
Organic Week is approaching us in Canada and I thought I’d discuss the benefits of buying organic and local whenever possible! Now I know the word “organic” can sound just as overwhelming and “trendy” as the word superfood, but regardless of your diet, buying organic food is a smart and beneficial priority. Opting to buy even some organic and local foods can be an efficacious choice for personal and environmental health.
So why (try to) buy organic?
Organic food delivers more nutrition and is higher in minerals and antioxidants than traditional foods. There have been many studies that have been shown that show an increased level of some nutrients in various organic foods. On average, organically grown foods provide roughly 20 percent more iron, 25 percent more Vitamin C and 30 percent more magnesium per serving. Significantly more minerals, vitamins, enzymes and micro nutrients than conventionally grown foods because the soil is handled and nourished with sustainable operations by accountable standards. So by consuming organic foods fairly consistently, we technically can double our overall daily nutritional intake!
Buying and eating organic also means avoiding and lessening your chance of chemical absorption. There are a cocktail of chemical poisons and pesticides that can be found in commercially grown foods in today’s society. More than 600-1000 active synthetic chemicals are registered for agricultural use in North America that produce about 45,000-55,000 different pesticides. More than 90 percent conventionally grown produce is guaranteed to contain pesticide residue. Most of them have been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency prior to extensive testing for long term effects on our health. When we are exposed to a number of different toxic chemicals, that are most likely carcinogenic, for over a long period of time, we put ourselves at risk for adverse health issues such as cancer, birth defects, mineral deficiencies, hormone system disorders and other diseases. To dramatically reduce our exposure to these harmful. choose to buy locally organic foods that contain much lower concentrations of chemicals whenever possible. Purchasing locally grown food doesn’t always mean chemical or pesticide free unfortunately. The pesticide residue some organic produce sometimes come from the soil that previously sustained conventional farming, pesticide accumulation from neighboring farms or other environmental factors. But certified organic produce is always grown with absolutely no chemicals and pesticides! Better for your body and the planet in the long run.
Eating fresh organic produce also means a decreased intake of food additives such as MSG, food colouring agents, artificial ingredients, growth hormones and antibiotics. Your body will also thank you for providing it with food that doesn’t contain any genetically modified organisms (GMO) and hasn’t been put through irradiation. Popular grocery list items such as apples, strawberries, spinach, almonds, soybeans, and corn that aren’t certified organic and locally produced are contaminated with an alarming rate of GMO, with repercussions beyond our own understanding! Did you know that GMO foods do not have to be labeled in North America? How do we actually know what we’re eating if the government chooses to conceal it from us? Why is everything else labeled and deemed safe to consume but GMOs are kept hidden ingredient lists? Instead of labeling items as “non GMO” or “organic”, shouldn’t that be the natural thing to assume they are and label them when they aren’t? Since the organically grown food supply is not permitted to be genetically modified in any way, choosing to go organic is the only option to steer clear from ingesting genetically modified foods and having to play the ingredient guessing game altogether. 🙂
Sustainable organic food also tastes a lot better! I can’t imagine the amount of times I’ve bitten into a strawberry that wasn’t organic and it tasted like plastic! Not to mention how ginormous they were to begin with. Strawberries shouldn’t be the size of tennis balls. As a matter of fact, they’re actually quite small, sweet and absolutely lush! And if you compare the non organic, non local strawberries to strawberries that aren’t, you’ll not only notice the difference in size, but also in taste – big time! Organic produce tends to taste better and fresher for the most part. Well balanced soil means better produce which means better tasting nourishing food for us! And since most organic food is locally produced, it doesn’t need to travel as far as most conventional foods do. Because they’re picked closer to their peak ripeness, it allows the natural rich flavors to be more delicious and potent. Besides, is it really necessary be eating strawberries imported from Mexico when we’re capable of growing them here? *And by here, for me, it’s Canada! 😉
There’s a myriad of exceptional decent reasons why you should always try to choose and eat organic whenever you can! Aside from avoiding chemicals and better taste and better quality, you’d also be supporting local economies and farming communities, help preserve our ecosystems, reduce pollution, protect our water and soils and preserve agricultural diversity. While there are some expensive organic items on our shelves today, there are ways to eat organic and local without breaking your budget. You can shop at bulk stores, food coops and/or local farmers’ markets like The Stop @ Wychwood Barns and Evergreen Brickworks which are two of my favorites in the city! If you’re a meat eater, you can maximize your plant consumption and swap for plant based protein options that are definitely less expensive like organic dried beans, nuts and more nutrient dense greens like kale, collard greens and broccoli which are actually affordable to purchase organic!
Some other simple guidelines you can gradually follow that will help you make the healthiest and safest choices:
- Read the labels that are accessible on all of the foods you buy and learn about the ingredients.
- Eliminate one conventional processed food product that you normally grab and buy it organic! Non organically grown apples, carrots, seeds and soft fruits are some of the most heavily pesticide sprayed products. If apples are usually on your list, opt to buy them organic. And if that’s not convenient or accessible, it is important to thoroughly wash the skin with apple cider vinegar to reduce pesticide intake. Remember, companies invest big money in chemicals that are resistant to rain drops! So soak, scrub and repeat!
- Look for Non-GMO options for particular foods like grains, corn, soybeans, beans, nuts and frozen produce.
- Buy local whenever you can! Try to stay away from produce that’s grown in countries that requires two plane rides! 😉 (It always makes me happy to see a product that’s in my case, 100% Canadian and local.)
- Focus on buying produce that’s in season. You can freeze summer fruits and vegetables if you live in a country with a not so pleasant winter season.
- Choose who your money goes to. Buy from companies that are committed to providing you the best worthwhile quality food…
Mike and Mike’s Organics carries a variety of diverse nutrient packed finds such as nuts, seeds, dried fruits and fresh produce that’s good for you, nature approved and organic! All of their products meet the rigorous standards and handled according to strict procedures in order to be certified organic. This ensures that the quality of their products are deemed safe to consume for everyone. They carry a delicious line of good-for-you healthy munchies that you can happily choose from: raw organic almonds, pine nuts, cashews, trail mixes, pumpkin seeds, pistachios, walnuts – you name it! And all bursting with natural nutrition, quality taste and sustainable substance. Everything you would want (and more) in fresh valued food! Use them in salads, homemade baked goods, savory dishes, or soak ’em then eat ’em raw as healthy delicious snacks! They are all so unbelievably convenient and reasonably priced too (from as low as $3.99 to $8.99 depending.) If you care about your food just as much as I do or starting to make the change, Mike and Mike’s Organics is on your side.
Organic Select will now be marketed as Mike & Mike’s Organics. Here’s a sneak peek of their new and upcoming brand! Same quality taste only now in a new fresh seal packaging. Easy to open and favorable for any time of the day! You’ll see their latest collections at your local store very soon. 🙂
I admit, I don’t always buy organic. It can definitely be a challenge at times especially when it comes to eating at restaurants, the limited selections at our stores and of course, the cost of organically grown food. But when I do, I choose companies like Mike & Mike’s to help me out and I buy certain products organic whenever I can like spinach, frozen berries and corn. 🙂 The hope is that when we do start buying more organic food, that prices will eventually decrease. But this is all up to us – the consumers. The choices we make today as consumers not only affect our health but have a profound impact on tomorrow’s future. The best way forward it is to expand our enquiring minds, continuously question the food we feed ourselves today, reclaim our health by simple ways like choosing organic and voting with our dollars.
Do you vote organic?
Happy weekend everyone! 🙂
It’s a beautiful day in Toronto. The sun is shining, the sky is deliciously clear and the wave of summer vibes is here to stay! One of the best things about summer is feeling good about waking up in the mornings. Warm and sunny mornings allow you to start your day right, wouldn’t you agree?
And what’s the best thing you can do for yourself in the morning? Eating a healthy and scrumptious breakfast. It’s easy to grab a bowl of sugary cereal or oatmeal with some full fat milk but in my opinion, there are optimal and more nutritional meals you can have instead. If you want to start your summer day off right, you should eat right. Plain and simple. So after I have my glass of water and warm lemon water to wake my insides up from a good night’s rest, I opt for a chia seed pudding with hearty add-ons.
The recipe I’m about to share with you is vegan and free of yucky ingredients that we definitely don’t want in our breakfast. It’s also low in sugar, wheat and gluten free, high in anti-oxidants, rich in protein, contains healthy fats and filling!
As you probably know, chia seeds are considered to be one of the many amazing super foods that Mother Nature has to offer to us. Despite their size, chia seeds are among the most nutritious foods on the planet. They are loaded with fiber, protein and omega 3 fatty acids. It’s easy to use and consume – sprinkle them in salads, bake with them, add them to smoothies and juices and my favourite way: puddin-nize ’em! (I made that word up btw!)
Here are some fast food facts about chia seeds and why they should be a staple part of your everyday diet…
- Provides a massive amount of nutrients with very few calories! Excellent for someone trying to lose or maintain their weight. It’s unique way of gelling with liquid helps to keep you full for hours. It’s also an excellent low carb food as most of the grams is fiber!
- Ideal food to help balance blood sugar. It’s great combination of soluble and insoluble fiber combine to slow down your body’s conversion of starches into sugars. Eating chia with a meal or as a meal will help you turn your food into a constant, ready energy and fuel your body rather than giving you the ups and down cravings that weigh you down.
- Chia is the richest plant source of Omega 3 fatty acids. By weight and gram per gram, chia has more omega than salmon!
- Rich in anti oxidants (more than blueberries) and contains good quality protein!
So whether you want to lower your cholesterol or blood sugars, properly lose weight or have more nutritional foods in your everyday diet, chia seeds will help you do all of that. Did I mention they’re also gluten/wheat free and vegan? 😉
If you don’t like the taste of gelatinized chia seed (chia seeds with liquid), you can sneak them in your smoothies or juices for added nutrients. But seriously, you should try making a chia seed pudding! It’s perfect for a filling breakfast, mid day snack or even dessert!
Don’t underestimate tiny things!
Here’s my yummy basic go-to recipe which can be easily customized to your liking:
1 1/4 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk (homemade if you have!)
1/4 cup of organic chia seeds
1/2 teaspoon of organic vanilla extract, flavouring or bean pod (alcohol free please!)
1 teaspoon of xylitol or some stevia (optional)
Add all of the ingredients in a glass jar or bowl. Give it a quick stir. If using a jar, cover with a lid and shake like crazy to mix it all up. If using a bowl, let sit in the fridge and stir occasionally. Refrigerate until it becomes very thick and pudding like. You can do this for a few hours or overnight. For me, 20 minutes does the trick; plus my stomach is impatient.
Top with super essentials: tons of organic blueberries (I like them frozen!), raspberries, raw almonds and half a teaspoon of organic cinnamon. If I want to satisfy my sweet tooth, adding unsweetened coconut flakes, carob/cacao powder or chips and coconut milk does the trick! Enjoy! x
Like most people living the city, I always find myself on a life marathon – whether I’m headed to work, attending castings, on set for photo shoots, prepping and organizing meal plans, etc. But one thing is for sure: I always make time to eat. This is so important especially if you’re constantly on the run which means your body is working twice as hard to fuel you.
Sometimes it can be challenging to “fuel up” – especially nutritiously – in between chaos when you’re pressed for time or simply don’t have the energy to prep meals and snacks everyday. And then the worst comes after you’ve reached your hungry hippo stage….you dive into a unhealthy bag of chips or smother your face in nutrient deprived granola bars. Our western society has made it extremely easy and accessible to eat junky foods. But I’m here to tell you that there are tasty, wholesome, healthier options that properly fuel the body.
KEWAZA energy balls is one of them. It’s a yummy pocket ball that just bursts of clean nutrients and natural flavours. It contains the optimum balance of high quality carbs, fats and deliciousness all needed for the ideal snack to energize and revitalize. (I love a good rhyme!) It’s convenient, ready to devour and not complicated. It also keeps you very satisfied in between meals. My friends had a few bites of each flavour and praised how good they were. They felt like it was more of a treat than something nutritious! Apparently it’s delectable enough to confuse you that it’s healthier!
I generally make my own portable snacks so that I can control the ingredients and portions to fit into my everyday lifestyle. With my gluten free, wheat free, preservative free, sugar free, vegan, plant based motto, it can get a little tiring making my own energy balls or protein bars. And washing the food processor can be very tedious at times! However, I have a huge respect for health conscious companies, especially ones that are local, that provide reliable quality products in order to promote and encourage healthier, wholesome lives. Toronto based company, Kewaza, aims to do that everyday with their endearing slogan of Move Mountains. So whether you’re running some errands, finishing yoga class or moving some mountains, these energy balls will give you the sustenance you need to do all that and more.
Here’s the nutritional profile on these balls of energy:
Non GMO, organic, gluten/wheat free, preservative free, dairy free, soy free and wholesome. Ta-da!
Uncomplicated ingredients include organic dates, goji berries, walnuts, coconut oil, flax seeds, peanut butter, cacao powder and maca powder just to name a few. You can find the full list of ingredients in each ball on their colourful website.
I am going to have an honest moment with you. Because of my low glycemic, sugar free vegan diet, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy these like the next guy. Their peanut butter protein balls would be great if I ate peanut butter! 🙁 My fingers are crossed for an almond butter base flavor. However, for the purpose of this review, I did have a small bite of it and I confirm that it is indeed scrumptious. And with the use of super foods such as maca powder and hemp in the balls, it’s something you won’t feel guilty about eating.
Want to try it for yourself? You should! Enter our giveaway below for a chance to win a FREE set of balls – KEWAZA style!
Stay healthy, my friends. x
Microwaves should come with warning labels just like cigarette cartons.
I’ve never owned my own microwave. It’s been about 6 years or so actually. When I first moved into my first apartment, I made the conscious decision to never own one. I figured there were other safer ways to heat my food. And quite frankly, microwaved foods never interested me. It never tasted good. My food was always scorching hot when it came out but after a few minutes, the temperature of it dropped drastically. Plus, the thought of an appliance “warming” my food with invisible energy radio waves boggled my mind – it made me very skeptical. You plug it in, press some buttons and voila! Food in a matter of seconds. Then it went straight into my body? Weird!
Microwaves play such a large part in the everyday Western lifestyle; it’s this impressive little everyday gadget that we don’t second guess as much as we should. On top of that, most homes are microwaving processed foods which only means one thing: it’s not real food being eaten. It’s just junk being heated by junk. It may help when you when you’re pressed for time but in the long run, it does more harm than any good. We cannot ignorantly sacrifice our health in return for the convenience of microwave ovens to prepare our meals. Exposure to unnatural radiation cannot be beneficial to our health. Would you be alright getting into a tanning booth (it’s kind of like a large microwave), blasting it on high for a few minutes and then repeating that everyday? Probably not. Because you know it’s not safe and can be damaging. You probably don’t need any scientific facts to justify that for you.
Why should you be concerned about your microwave? Here’s a some fast facts I’ve rounded up for you (some so obvious that you may already know them):
- Nutrients, vitamins and minerals of all microwaved food is depleted or altered so that the human body gets little or no benefit which cannot be brown down
- Microwaved foods cause stomach and intestinal cancerous tumors
- Continual ingestion of microwaved food lowers the immune system and can cause digestive disorders
- Eating food processed from a microwave oven causes permanent brain damage by “shorting out” electrical impulses in the brain
- The prolonged eating of microwaved foods causes cancerous cells that increase in human blood
- The minerals and vitamins in vegetables are converted into cancerous free radicals by microwaves
- Our bodies are unable to metabolize the unknown by-products that are created in microwaved foods
There are many articles about microwaves being harmful and also many articles about it being safer than cell phones. But the point of eating food is to reap the benefits it has to offer and if the nutrients are being depleted by microwaves, why bother? The dangers are there and it is absolutely not necessary to have one.
Bottom line: You don’t need it. I believe that every meal you make should be prepared on purpose with purpose. Life can get hectic and busy, but that doesn’t mean your body has to compromise with crappy food sprayed in a coating of radiation. Not to mention a lot of it is probably wrapped in some sort of BPA, but that’s a whole other issue on it’s own. It’s safer to eat natural foods in raw form which is not only as convenient as microwaved food but much healthier. Our bodies are capable of handling something close to what mother nature gives us but if it’s not, it’s more likely our bodies cannot. Keep in mind, I’m a vegan so a large portion of my meals don’t require any heating. The foods that do, go straight into the conventional oven or reheated in a pan. You”ll be surprised just how easily you can get by without a microwave! Whether or not these facts are “true or false”, if you can reduce the potential risks, would you?
Try this home experiment from NaturalNews to understand the potential hazards of microwaving: “Plant seeds in two pots. Water one pot with microwaved water and the other pot with regular tap water. The seeds that received microwaved water won’t sprout. If microwaved water can stop plants from growing, then imagine what microwaved food is doing to your body.”