Hands up who wants to up their health game this year? Before you jump to conclusions and think this will be just another blog post about new year resolutions I want to let you in on a little secret: it’s not. This is about rethinking lifestyle choices on an ongoing basis by making incremental changes- such as giving your body a boost with a shot of plant-based protein in a tasty smoothie instead of reaching for that bag of chips, that bag of candy (hello leftover Christmas candy!), or whatever your naughty snack of choice is.
One thing we notice in our house is a general lack of energy (in the adults that is, the kids- yeesh can we bottle some of theirs?!). Some days are good, but many are clouded with that not enough sleep/ not enough coffee/ can’t wake up fogginess. I’ve enjoyed Botanica’s products for about a year now (see this post and this post) and we have recently been trying out some of their vanilla Perfect Protein Elevated Protein Powder in smoothies. We opted to try the Adrenal Support blend protein powder in a batch of smoothies as a family and everyone loved them. What I love about this plant-based protein powder is that it’s made with whole-food ingredients (quinoa, vanilla, coconut, brown rice) alongside superfoods recognized to improve/ balance adrenal function (more on those later).
Other reasons I love this plant-based protein powder:
I sometimes find that protein powders can be overpowering when you mix them into drinks- smoothies, shakes, etc- but that wasn’t the case with this one. It only made a slight difference to the flavour and texture, definitely not like others I’ve tried where the taste of the protein powder takes over and you’re left with a thick chalky consistency that isn’t very enjoyable. This powder isn’t lumpy or grainy, making it a subtle (and enjoyable) addition to smoothies.
Give your health a boost by rethinking your lifestyle choices.
Botanica has a few protein powders to choose from, but I wanted to try the Adrenal Support blend because both Will and I are working to restore adrenal function in our bodies. So many of us seem to lack energy and/ or suffer from chronic fatigue and blame it on not enough sleep or not enough coffee (who is else is guilty there??), but these symptoms could also be indicative of other underlying imbalances in our body, such as adrenal fatigue. Lifestyle choices such as diet can have a large impact on how our bodies function and the quality of what we put in our mouths plays an important role.
Smoothies are a simple and convenient way to pack in nutrients!
I like smoothies as a quick and healthy snack or breakfast option and admittedly don’t make them often enough. When I saw how much the kids loved the smoothies we made with Botanica’s protein powder it reminded me how great of an option they really are. Even though at this time of year I’m definitely craving warm comfort food, I know I have to make more of an effort in the colder months, because the effort pays off. See below for the recipe we made + find out more about the adrenal-boosting ingredients in this plant-based protein powder.
Frozen Fruit Protein Smoothie
1 scoop of Botanica’s Elevated Protein Powder
2 cups of your favourite frozen fruits/ berries
1 banana (fresh or frozen
1 cup milk or non-dairy beverage of choice
1/2- 1 cup of water (add as needed to reach desired thickness/ consistency)
Place all ingredients in a blender and pulse to help break up frozen fruit/ berries. Blend until a smooth consistency has been reached (Tip: pour into popsicle molds for healthy popsicles!)
About Perfect Protein
Botanica Perfect Protein is a fermented and sprouted complete plant protein blend packed with naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, healthy fats and fibre. All in light vanilla taste so it’s easy to digest and absorb. Crafted in small batches with just a few simple organic, fair trade ingredients. So good there’s no added sweeteners, not even stevia. Great to add to a smoothie or mixed into milk/ non-dairy beverage.
How do you maintain your wellness routine and keep yourself healthy this time of year? I’m excited to be teaming up again with Botanica Health heading into the holiday season with some ideas to help you stay calm and relaxed while enjoying something warm to unwind with at the end of the day. We all know eggnog is a hit this time of year, but if you’re looking for something warm and not loaded with sugar I’ve got two ideas you might want to try (plus a recipe!).
Botanica Health has just released two new products in time for those evenings you want to stay cozy indoors (or go for a Winter walk), and unwind at the end of the day: Reishi Hot Chocolate and Chocolate Turmeric Golden Mylk. Both are modern takes on traditional beverages (reishi mushrooms are believed to help the body relax and support a healthy stress response, while turmeric is a popular ingredient in ayurvedic medicine for its anti-inflammatory properties). With the added decadence of chocolate, they’re the perfect drink for when you want to enjoy something warm and comforting without being loaded with sugar and artificial additives (bonus points for actually being good for you!).
The Reishi Hot Chocolate is my favourite of the two, and I decided to give it a try in a recipe: reishi chocolate chia pudding, a new take on this chia parfait recipe. I like that chia pudding is a tasty, healthy snack full of nutrients and how simple it is to make. Whether you enjoy the Reishi Hot Chocolate Mix to make a warm drink on a cold day, or to add into a snack like this one, it’s a refreshing option worth a try. See below for the recipe!
Reishi Hot Chocolate Chia Pudding
2 cups milk (regular, coconut, or pick your favourite)
1/4 cup chia seeds
2 tbsp Reishi Hot Chocolate Mix
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
Vanilla Greek yogurt (optional)
Cinnamon or cocoa nibs for garnish
1. In a jug, mix the Reishi Hot Chocolate Mix until combined, followed by the chia seeds
2.Cover for half an hour or overnight
3.When ready, pour the chia seed mix into mason jars and top with cinnamon or cocoa nib shavings
4.For an extra dose of protein, layer the chocolate chia pudding with Greek yogurt
What little things do you try to do as part of your wellness routine?
It can be drinking more water, taking your vitamins, or working on your mental health. Whatever it is, even small steps can add up to create healthy habits we can maintain. It can take a little time and patience, but over time these efforts add up and today I’m sharing how making Botanica Health a part of that routine is not only an easy choice, but a delicious one.
This has been something I’ve been working on for over a year, and even though I think I’ve still got progress to make, I’ve learned that I can’t change things overnight- but I’ve got to start somewhere and have a little patience. Creating new healthy habits has taken two forms for me: focusing on body and mind, and the two have gone hand-in-hand. Running has become a part of my weekly routine and something that has helped my body and mind feel better. But that’s just half of the equation; the other is paying attention to how my body feels and fueling it with healthy choices. View Post
How often do you make time for yourself? Whether you want to curl up with a book or add some fitness into your routine, help make self-care a priority with these ideas! Self-care has been a topic of discussion with many of the people- men and women- that I know, and I feel like it’s coming up more and more in conversations online as well: we’re busy, burnt-out, and tired, and don’t have enough time to enjoy a hot cup of coffee, let alone enjoy a hobby or find time to exercise. We’re getting lost in the shuffle and losing touch with ourselves. We need to make ourselves a priority and find some time for ourselves (even if only for a few minutes!), and that’s what inspired this post.
Whatever form self-care takes, from a favourite activity or hobby to fitness/ health, to trying something new, it’s personal and something that makes you ask yourself ‘what fills my cup’ or ‘what do I need to do for myself’? The answers can be game changers for your mind, body, and soul, but for many it can be a struggle to find/ make the time. I don’t know when self-care became such a hot topic, but I understand it’s different for everyone. This time of year is a great opportunity to reflect on we want and need for ourselves for the year ahead and ultimately think about our priorities. Finding simple ways to form or strengthen healthy personal habits can make a big difference in our happiness and overall well-being.
Before you tell yourself you don’t have time, think of it this way: it can start with something as simple as ‘drink more water’ and move forward from there (there’s nothing wrong with baby steps!). If at first you find it challenging to find a block of time, start with 5 minutes and build from there. Be kind and have patience with yourself, this is something to be enjoyed, not be another item on a list to stress us out! 😉 I used to get anxiety at the thought of making time for one more thing, even if it was good for me, something I enjoyed, but slowly over time that melted away and my outlook towards self-care changed. Goodbye guilt, hello… contentment, calm, happiness… fill in the blank. Running has become my main fitness-related activity, largely due to convenience and simplicity, but it’s been instrumental in a lot of positive mental changes as well; over time it’s become something I look forward to on both a physical and psychological level and one of the best self- care decisions I’ve made. Self-care can also take different forms throughout the year and as our interests change; there are no set rules other than to make time and enjoy! Even if self-care takes the form of something we don’t love– such as exercise- we ultimately will feel better knowing we made the time for it, invested in ourselves.
For this post I wanted to include a variety of ideas to hopefully inspire making self-care a priority, so I’ve included everything from something as simple as a candle to a cozy chair to hopefully get you thinking about what self-care looks like and means to you. I love curling up in lots of blankets and pillows and reading; add a cup of tea or glass of wine and I’m happy. Whether you have an area in your house that you can dedicate, like a little reading nook or fitness space, or you just want to add touches throughout your home that remind you to make time for yourself- like that just breathe print– I hope this post helps you make self-care a priority and part of your routine.
There. I’ve said it. I think balance is a cruel word that gets tossed around as we try and convince ourselves that we can do it all in the same day. Someone once told me ‘balance’ is about making choices and being at peace with them, and I’ve reflected on that ever since; on days when I feel like I’m struggling I try to step back and think about what my focuses for that day are and regroup around them, simplify things. I absolutely believe we can do it all– just not all at once. Different days may have different priorities, we just have to accept that there may be/ will be other things that don’t happen- they’ll happen some other time. In other words, I think the concept of balance is more of an outlook than an actual thing we can achieve.
Some days it feels like I can get everything done and I feel like a champion (aren’t those the best!?), and other days I feel like the biggest achievement is that the kids and I make it to the end of the day in one piece (a big, crazy, messy piece). Either way the same thing happens: I go into the day with a list of priorities- this may be a mental list or one I write down and includes things like time with the kids, house work, work, appointments that have to be made, yard work, etc- and inevitably there are usually things that get left for the next day or the next (or the next!)- or if it’s a particularly chaotic day, I throw out that list (unless there’s something that falls under ‘must happen today’), and re- write it for the next. It’s not always easy- some days it feels painful to give up and tell myself ‘it’s not going to happen today’- but I’m learning what’s more important than that to- do list is my outlook towards it. It’s how I think about things and move through the day, not how much I can get done in a day that matters (hands up who else is Type A like me and always tries to cram as much as possible into the day?). Sounds so simple right? But oooooh creating mental habits/ changing your perspective can be just as challenging as changing other habits!!! It takes time and baby steps, and patience, and, and, and…. moral of the story: we have to have patience with ourselves.
As I sit here and talk about choices, figuring out priorities, and finding ‘balance’- whatever that means- I don’t think I could do so without talking about one of the things I’ve made a priority over the past year, something I’ve made time for regardless of whatever else is going on. This choice didn’t come out of thin air, I’ve had to carve out the time from other things, but ultimately I’m happy with the choice of how I spend this time. The interesting thing about a year is you have a very distinct start and end point to reflect on, and I’ve been doing that lately as I look back on the progress I’ve made. Some days I’m stressed out about the time it takes, overwhelmed with everything else I have to get done, but ultimately I feel so much better after having made time for it, happy with the choice I made. The choice I’m referring to is exercise, and the time I’ve taken for yoga and running (and swimming when I get the chance).
It’s been a year since I started running- the longest that I have been committed to exercise in my adult life- and it is something I choose to make a priority (I share more about it in this post). For the most part I have gone on a run every week for a year; there is the odd week that I’ve missed one and weeks I’ve managed to go for two if I felt like I needed it (even if I’m stressed about finding the time for other things that have to get done, I ultimately feel better/ handle my workload better if I’ve taken some time away to give my mind a break with the added bonus of feeling better physically from the exercise). And before you tell me you don’t know where you’d find the time for exercise, I’ll confess this to you: I don’t have a lot of time for exercise. And I know a lot of other people who feel the same. It may not be exercise for them, it might be something else that they’re struggling to fit into their schedules, but either way finding time for some things is harder than others. The trick is to find it, then the second hardest part is to create a habit/ add it to your routine and then stick with it.
We all have other things to do, other things that take up our time, we all have our daily mix that fill our days. And in the end we look back on the day and hopefully feel good about what we got accomplished. Taking care of ourselves and our health is something we’re told to make a priority and rightfully so, but as with many things it’s often easier said than done. How many times do you tell yourself I’ll do it today and then brush it off: Oh well, I’ll do it tomorrow… It’s not hard to put stuff off that doesn’t really appeal to us, or that’s inconvenient/ uncomfortable- let’s face it, fitness isn’t usually something people do for fun (even though it can be), they do it to stay healthy. And we tend to lump health stuff under ‘boring’ and ‘have to but don’t want to’ instead of making it something to look forward to (see how a change in perspective might make that more appealing?). But that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be a priority- that finding some time to take care of yourself isn’t important enough to warrant a little bit of time each week. And that’s just it: even just a little bit of time is better than no time at all. And that’s what I’ve told myself this past year when I’ve wanted to make an excuse to get out of running: it’s just. a. few. minutes. (and for the record, I didn’t let weather become an excuse either, no matter how tempting/ easy it would have been). I don’t always want to, but ultimately I know how much better I feel, how much happier I am afterwards; it’s worth it and something I’m glad I’ve added to my routine, even if it’s at the expense of something else.
I’m still working on calming down about all the things I want to get done in a day, letting go and really thinking about what I consider a priority- in other words, I’m still making peace with imbalance (see what I did there? 😉 ). But one thing I’m glad I did, even though I’ve had to choose the time to make it happen this past year is to stop making excuses for getting in some exercise each week. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I have your life all figured out and how easy it is to make changes, to make time for these things. It’s rarely, if ever, that simple. But it is about re- thinking your priorities, re- thinking the choices you make and asking yourself ‘Is this making me a better or worse version of myself?’. We’re grown ups, so obviously things like bills and mortgages aren’t going to go away and make the choice to work less any easier (oh adulting…), but for the things on a simpler level, those things we have within our control, it’s amazing the difference a few different choices and a change of mind set can make. I’m not any less of a to- do list loving person than I was a year ago, but I’m chipping away at changing my outlook on things (instead of thinking ‘these are all the things I didn’t get done today’ turning it around and thinking about all that did get done), letting go, and not making excuses for things that should be more of a priority/ deserve more time. I’m responsible for two little people and keeping them happy and healthy, and at some point I have to make sure I’m doing the same for myself. It’s the choices I make and the perspective I have that creates the happiness and inner peace that I think ‘balance’ is supposed to bring- and it’s not a perfect one- size- fits- all solution- but just making the effort alone has been a big step forward for me. Exercise has been ‘my thing’ this past year that I’ve made a priority, now I want to know: what do you want to make more time for?
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