Baru Rubs & Sauces

With Barbeque Season officially here, the timing could not have been better to try what is now my new favourite seasonings! I had been so bored with my regular “go-to” menu and was looking for something to “spice things up” without going completely off what I know how to cook. 

Here’s where Baru Rubs and Sauces steps in! Baru is a Vancouver-based company started three years ago by two BFFs – Zeta Newis and Nina Lafleur – as a spin off of the successful Kitsilano restaurant – Baru Latino.   Part of what makes their products so unique is that they are a small batch, handmade producer based out of an award winning restaurant.  Who wouldn’t want to bring this deliciousness home for their own daily consumption?

I think I may personally love the business for the fact that the co-owners are women, BFFs, foodies and Canadian.  Nina Lafleur attributes their success to their belief in  “fresh, healthy, tasty ingredients and a commitment to our customers”

The friends’ love for food and cooking is evident in their products.  They want to make healthy, fresh and delicious food for friends and family. This is something I completely relate to. “Food is family, friends, and community. It is something that unites us all. With our products, you are able to sample foods which are inspired from different areas of the world, take them home and try new things.”

Having tried all of the rubs and hot sauces, I have to say that they are as unique and diverse as my own family.  Their “Hot’R Sauce – Even Hotter” is, by far, my husband’s favourite he’s ever tried.  Having spent 6 years in the Caribbean, the flavour takes him back.  He LOVES hot sauces – but this one isn’t just hot, it’s packed with flavour.  He said “it’s the habenero…I can taste it in the sauce”.  When I asked him more about what he thought, he said “it’s all gone. We NEED to get more!” For this discerning hot sauce fan, this is the greatest compliment.

Now for the rubs… I have a mixed crew of test subjects and palets … I like spice and flavour, my husband likes HOT and flavour and my daughters like flavour packed spices without the HOT.  The girls favourite was the Chimichurri Rub.  I marinated chicken in the recommended mix of (olive oil) and rub before cooking.  They actually fought over the last piece and asked to have it for lunch!  Success!

I love the fact that these rubs are packed with flavour, not just sauce or salt. I also love that they give suggestions to how to use them – I didn’t even think of using it as a marinade! Baru hit the nail on the head with their focus on putting ethnicity and global tastes into a product.  It goes outside my own personal usual “go-to’s” – which I love!  I can’t wait to try these rubs on fish!  And steak is a “no-brainer”.    

Currently their products are only sold in retail stores in BC but they are wanting to expand outside of the province. Luckily for me, five of their products (including the coveted Hot’R Sauce!) are available online and can be shipped anywhere in the world. Currently their offering free shipping in Canada for orders over $30. Yippee!

I’m happy that I was able to try Baru’s products – not only to have a future Father’s Day gift idea, but also to help me break out of my usual fare of seasoning-free kid cooking to a kid and adult-approved cooking environment!

If you are interested learning more about or trying the Baru Rubs & Sauces yourself this BBQ season (or anytime really!), please visit their website: https://www.barurubsandsauces.com.

The Big “C” – What to Do When Your Friend or Family Member has Cancer

I’m fortunate enough to write this blog as someone who has not been diagnosed with “the Big C” so far in my life. I do, however, know too many people that I love who have been diagnosed. From my experiences with them and from what they have spoken to me about, I have come up with my own “do’s and don’ts list” when it comes dealing with someone that has cancer.

Do – know your relationship level with the person and act accordingly. If this person is a colleague at work and you are not very close, don’t sob on her lap about how awful this is and how bad you feel. Judge your relationship and act accordingly – even if it’s to just say how sorry you are to hear.

Don’t – just offer. DO! Don’t leave it up in the air or dependant on your friend to call if they want to talk. Call her. Text her. Email her – whatever. Just check in. And don’t offer to make a meal. Instead tell her you will make X and just to let her know when is a good night to drop it off. When you do drop it off, don’t stay. The reason most people turn down a meal is because they are in no mood to see people. Chances are they aren’t feeling well and the house is a mess. Don’t come in – even for a short visit. You could even just leave it on the front step with a note and leave after you ring the doorbell.

Don’t – take it personally. If she wants to open up and talk, great. If not, don’t get upset or hurt. You have no idea what she’s going through – even though you could imagine, you don’t know really know. Remember, this isn’t about you.

DO – Let her be sad, mad, angry, frustrated, regretful, blaming etc… This is her life. Getting this news changes everything. She’s allowed to feel all of these feelings.

Don’t – tell her it’s going to be fine. You have no grounds to say something like this. You don’t know. Hell, even the doctors sometimes don’t know.

Don’t – be a selfish asshole. A friend of mine told me about a time, when she had breast cancer, that her friend was over for dinner and kept whining about having to go on blood pressure or thyroid pills! She wouldn’t stop complaining about the fact that she would have to be on them for the rest of her life. OMG! It’s a PILL! My friend didn’t even know what her treatment or odds were like to live, and this twit is talking about her thyroid issue? Get a clue!

DO – be there. Whether it’s a phone call or to go for a spa day or to listen to her cry for 3 hours, just be there.

DO – learn about the disease. Each type of cancer is different and so are treatments. Take time to learn about the type of cancer so that you can be educated if and when you speak to her about it.

DO – share information. If you hear about a new treatment, drug, research or vitamins etc… let her know. Although it’s likely she knows all there is to know from googling the hell out of cancer, she may not have heard of your information. At the very least, she knows you care and are thinking of her.

DO – offer to help. Again depending on the relationship, offer to help drive to treatments or pick up kids from school, or make a meal or clean her bathroom. I find that offering this help to the spouse (if applicable) is most useful. This person is having to pick up the slack on top of having to deal with the illness as well. This person would be more likely to accept help than your friend – or at least that has been my experience.

DO – be positive and supportive. Don’t go overboard and be annoyingly positive – like everything is sunshine and lollipops. But do try to be a source of positivity and support. It has been proven that thinking positive and sending positive energy to injured body parts speeds healing. So try to encourage that.

DO – continue your normal relationship. Continue to celebrate birthdays, have girls’ night, watch The Bachelor, gossip about celebrities and more. Although having cancer has changed her life, it hasn’t ended it! She will likely want or need some sense of normalcy and distraction and a chance to just laugh and smile.

I know that some people may read this and agree or disagree. This is just what I, personally think is appropriate from my own experiences with family and friends. I’m hoping that you will never have to use this list because no one you know will ever get cancer. But if you do, this could be a good starting point on what to do next for your loved one.

How to Eat Healthy During Summer BBQ Season

We are well underway with summer in Winnipeg – the weekend getaways to the lake, the countless festivals in the Exchange District, enjoying the incredible patios our city has to offer, and spending time with friends and family at the ever-popular BBQ. But summer indulging can take its toll on our health and on our waistlines. I think most of us drink a little more and eat a little more that is outside of our regular regime in the summer. It’s time for enjoying the weather, getting outside, and in turn, indulging. But we don’t have to go overboard. Here are a few tips on how to eat healthy next time you’re out and about in barbeque season:

  1. Reach for whole-wheat buns rather than white buns. Personally, I like the taste of whole wheat much better, and feel that everyone can acquire the taste buds to enjoy this option. Whole wheat is rich in fiber, is a plant-based protein, and is higher in phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals than is white bread.
  2. Stick to veggie or turkey burgers or boneless skinless chicken breasts instead of hot dogs or hamburgers. The World Health Organization last year linked processed meats (i.e. hot dogs and sandwich meat) and red meat to cancer. “A risk of several cancers may be associated with high consumption of red meat or processed meat. Although these risks are small, they could be important for public health because many people worldwide eat meat and meat consumption is increasing in low- and middle-income countries.” (Source: World Health Organization). So if an increased risk of cancer isn’t enough of a reason to reach for a secondary option, I don’t know what is. Boon Burger makes amazing vegetarian options that are sold both in their restaurant (79 Sherbrook Street) and at the grocery store.
  3. Go easy on the sauces. Everyone loves the toppings that come with burgers. Pile them on veggie style. Add tomato, onion, hot peppers, pickles and lettuce. With regards to condiments, try to stay away from high-sugar ketchup or mayo. Mustard and hummus are great substitutions.
  4. Don’t drink your calories. When it’s hot outside it’s important to stay hydrated. Whether you are drinking alcohol or non-alcoholic beverages, try to cut out high sugar options like pop or fruit juices. Try infusing your water with oranges, raspberries or mint for a fresh summer flavor without all the calories.
  5. If it’s a potluck, bring a healthy dish like a spinach salad or fresh or roasted vegetables. Summer is a great time in Winnipeg for fresh fruit and veggies, purchased locally at many of our Farmer’s Markets around the city. Adding berries to a spinach salad is a terrific way to increase the vitamin C while having a delicious summer salad.
  6. Don’t over indulge. The best way to do this is simple – get a plate, put your food on it and stick to eating just that. Try to avoid grazing all night over the finger food and snacks.
  7. If there are lots of starchy side dishes like pierogies, potato salad or pasta salad, try to pick just one. Think of it as prioritizing your food and pick just your favorite. Try to fill up on the healthier options around you.
  8. Stay active. The great thing about BBQ season is that is it so nice outside. When you’re done eating go for a walk, toss a football around or play a round of tag with the kids. This avoids the heavy feeling after you eat.

For more great healthy information you can use, sign up for our newsletter here! 

 

 

Canada Rocks!

Canada Flag

With Canada Day just around the corner, like many Canadians I am thinking about what it means to be Canadian. To me, being Canadian means being AWESOME in so many ways!  Here are a few of the things of which I am most proud and grateful.

  • Personal freedom – to travel, freedom of expression, freedom to marry who you want, how to dress, what religion to follow and what political party to support
  • Laws to protect our citizens – Privacy laws; laws against theft, white collar crime, rape, domestic violence, child pornography
  • “Progressive” and continually progressing rights and equality of all peoples – acknowledgment and fair treatment to people of all ethnicities, religions, gender, age, sexual orientation, social economic status
  • Education – everyone in Canada has the opportunity to receive a free education to grade 12
  • Health care –   If you are bleeding, you can get free stiches; if you break your leg, you receive a free exam, x-ray and cast.  In even the worst cases, that require an overnight or multiple overnight stays, it is of no “cash out of pocket” to you
  • No matter who you are, you are able to access to food, clean drinking water, electricity, heat and air conditioning
  • Nature! Thousands of miles of natural forest, prairies and habitat
  • More Nature! Lakes, rivers, streams and falls
  • Social media – we are allowed to conduct and participate in this technology in Canada
  • Media – freedom to report, watch, read
  • Great beer, better wine, maple syrup, BC salmon, Maritime lobster
  • Timmies!
  • Canadian Whisky
  • Qualities we are known for as a country: Polite, Respectful, Thoughtful, Generous, Smart, Funny
  • Stable government and voting rights
  • Armed forces – to protect us at home and those that need our help
  • Our incredible natural resources and products
  • Newfie accents
  • Canadian girls
  • Intense seasons that build our character
  • Incredible musicians – Leonard Cohen, Celine Dion, Neil Young, B.T.O., The Watchmen, The Hip, David Foster and a vast array of talent in every musical domain
  • CBC and Don Cherry
  • Hockey
  • Amateur sports and super athletes
  • Terry Fox, Dan Akroyd, David Suzuki, Jim Carrey, Mike Meyers, Michael J. Fox, Rick Hansen
  • B.C.’s beauty, Alberta mountains, Saskatoon’s bridges
  • Toronto Blue Jays and Raptors
  • The Kids in the Hall
  • Winnipegger’s humour

I am most proud to be a Canadian because most of us are immigrants from somewhere, yet we can all call Canada home. I am Canadian because of a smart decision my great-grandfather D.L. made.  He decided to leave Russia to bring his family to Canada for a better life.  Thank you D.L.!  I know how fortunate my entire family and extended family are because of this courageous and selfless move that he made so many years ago.

Happy Canada Day!

 

 

How To Start Loving Your Body

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Do you ever have one of those days where you think ‘wow my body feels great today…I wonder what I weigh?’ to only step on the scale to get disappointed? You gained 5 pounds and you just don’t understand how you can feel so good yet the scale is telling you not to.

Do you ever have one of those days where you look in the mirror and don’t like the way that your tummy isn’t flat or the way your thighs look or the way your butt just isn’t high enough? But yesterday, you looked amazing so what happened over night?

Do you ever have one of those days that you go to the gym and you are feeling so great about yourself until a 20-something girl in a sports bra and booty shorts shows up and your mindset changes to how far away you are from where you want to be?

You’re not alone. In fact, over 90% of women have a ‘I hate my body’ moment EVERY SINGLE DAY. 90 PERCENT!!

Well we need to change this. NOW. And this week’s blog is dedicated to a few suggestions on how you can start loving your body immediately.

  1. Throw away your scale. Seriously. Who cares what the number is? Are you competing in a kickboxing match? No. So who cares if you are up or down a few pounds. If you look in the mirror and feel great, that’s what counts. A number is just a number.
  2. What mirror do you find yourself doing the most negative body talk in? That mirror needs to start showing you some love. Grab an old lipstick or a sharpee and make a huge pink heart with three things you love about the way you look. That mirror needs to tell you how beautiful you are even when you don’t see it.
  3. Take naked pictures of yourself. This one might be a stretch for some of you, but honestly, when your body is feeling so hot, snap a pic. Lying down, standing up, from behind, the front or the side – or maybe all of these. On the days where your body isn’t feeling the love, go back through your photos and reassure yourself how hot you really are. And if you’re thinking – ‘my profile pic on social media does this’ – it’s not the same. Loving your body in its raw naked state versus covered up is not the same. We need to start loving our bodies without the layers.
  4. When you find yourself over-analyzing your body, stop and quickly shift your focus to the three things you love the most about yourself. Not only is this good for your head game, but positive body thinking attracts a positive body image. And if you can’t think of three things that are gorgeous about you, ask your friends, your boyfriend, your kids. Make a list. Refer back to it. YOU ARE GORGEOUS in every size, shape and color.
  5. Think about the place that you feel your absolute best self, and start to spend more time there. For me, it’s the gym. I wear gym gear that I feel good about my body in, I workout hard, and I am yet to leave saying ‘wow, what a waste of time’. As you start to put yourself in locations that feel good to your soul, you’ll start to hopefully love yourself a bit more.
  6. Be the friend that makes everyone feel like they are the best human to walk the planet. I don’t have a plethora of friends, but I do know that all of them know how much I love them. I tell them often and I tell them why. Everyone loves to feel loved and connected, and it is our job to help the people in our circles feel incredible. One of my favorite things to do is write emails to my friends on my Top 10 Favorite Things About YOU. I would suggest doing this exercise to those you love starting today. And let’s make sure you are on that list of people first.

I hope this gives you a new helpful tips on loving your naked body. For extra motivation and positive living tips, sign up for our newsletter here – www.eepurl.com/GHTT5

Veggies 411

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Thank goodness for chefs!  They have made me fall in love with vegetables! No matter what restaurant you visit nowadays, you can find some truly decadent vegetables! Curried cauliflower, grilled brussel sprouts, roasted peppers, spinach salads, glazed carrots, barbequed asparagus or garlic anything! I LOVE my veggies!

We all know vegetables are good for you. But why? What do they actually do for your health? Well I am in no way a dietician or nutritionist but I certainly have done my research! After doing some digging, I have come up with a fairly comprehensive list of veggies, some of their “groupings” and their health benefits. I included some of the benefits of each vitamin or mineral as I go because I also am curious as to what each “does” for our health.

Within the list below, I am sure you will find a few that you can work into your daily diet – whether it is in a soup or a salad at lunch or as a yummy side at dinner. Make it happen. Not only will your health thank you but so will your taste buds!

Allium foods are the super flavors! They have natural antibiotic properties and can help boost immunity, reduce inflammation and fight infection. They include leeks, onions, shallots, scallions and garlic.

Asparagus is a great source of potassium, fiber, vitamins A, C, K and B complex – especially B6 and folic acid. Asparagus reduces inflammation and even fights depression.

Beans and peas are much higher in protein than other vegetables. This is why they are a great “meat” alternative for all those veg-heads out there! They also contain fiber, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium.  They include peas, lentils, and beans – soybeans, lima, kidney and garbanzo.

Bell peppers are great sources of potassium, manganese (collagen production, blood sugar control, and bone production supporter), fiber and vitamins A, B, C and K. They also happen to have twice the vitamin C content of oranges and are packed with antioxidants.

Carrots are known to improve eyesight due to their high levels of carotenoids and vitamin A. But did you know that they also help protect against cancer? They’re also a good source of vitamins B, C and K, fiber, potassium, magnesium and folate.

Cruciferous vegetables are anti-aging and cancer fighting superheroes! They are packed with antioxidants and selenium, immune boosting phytonutrients, vitamins C and K, potassium, calcium, iron and folic acid Included in this group are broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, and cabbage.

Dark green leafy vegetables are high in iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium, carotenoids and B, C, E and K. Included in this group are kale, spinach, swiss chard, collard greens, parsley and red/green lettuce.

  • Kale, (one cup of raw kale provides 460 percent of your daily vitamin K (prevents osteoporosis and aids in blood regulation and even reduces menstrual pain), 74 percent of your vitamin A and 107 percent of your vitamin C!
  • Spinach also offers an abundance of vitamin A (cancer fighter, eye support, skin protector and immunity builder) and folate too.

Eggplants are one of the best sources of antioxidants. Their high amount of soluble fiber contributes to healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

Squash are rich in carotenoids (cancer and heart disease prevention), vitamins A and C, potassium, magnesium and fiber.

Sweet potatoes and yams are very rich in carotenoids, vitamins A, B6, C (helps heal wounds, cancer prevention, prevent cataracts, reduce blood pressure, regulate blood sugar and even treat Parkinson’s disease!), potassium, iron and fiber.

So there you have it! You receive a slew of health benefits by eating these colourful delights! Ensure your plates are as colourful as possible to ensure you are getting enough of your veggies. Your Mom would be so proud!

If you enjoyed this blog or found it informative, you may want to check out some of our other nutrition blogs or sign up for our newsletter!

 

10 Things I’ve Learned Since Losing My Mom

Momma

I lost my Mom to cancer in December 2013. It was a fast transition from illness to death. No matter how old you are, losing your Mom is a terrible thing. In looking at the positive side of things, I have put together a list of the things I’ve learned since losing my Mom.

1) No one is safe from cancer- my mom wasn’t a saint but she was pretty effing close. She was always giving of herself – she made everyone feel welcome and important. You just need to know that sometimes bad things happen to good people.

2) You must fight for the health care you want. You have to be your own advocate for your own care. Expect more of your health care team – ask lots of questions and don’t be satisfied with what they tell you if you need or want to know more.

3) “Everything happens for a reason” – I disagree. This is something people say in crappy or sad situations to perhaps make themselves feel better or see the light. But sometimes things don’t happen for a reason. Sometimes shit just happens.

4) Family is number ONE. My parents always stressed this. Sometimes friends come and go, but family is family. You can, and should, always be able to count on them. My Mom taught us to nurture these relationships and stress this point with my own kids.

5) People show their love in different ways. Some people are great with flowery words to express their love. Others show their love by doing and giving. My mom was a “gifter”- she loved to give gifts. She took time and pride in giving the best gifts. It was her way of showing how much she was thinking of you. This may be part of the reason she celebrated every single holiday, event or milestone. It was more opportunities to show her love. So remember that not everyone shows love in the same way, but if you are lucky enough to feel someone’s love, cherish it greatly.

6) Celebrate the little things. My Mom was the best at this. If we passed a swimming level – celebrate! If it was the day of the dead in Mexico…we should have a party for it! I love that!

7) Do things for your kids – with your time. It means more than anything money can buy. Volunteer at their school, go for a bike ride together, do crafts together, bake cookies, throw the football around. No one will ever remember how awesome it was that dad bought you an iPad or mom watched T.V. with you. But they will remember the way that you made them feel special, cherished and loved.

8) Have no regrets – don’t wait to take that trip, start that business or tell that special someone you love them – tomorrow may look very different than today. Our mom was our biggest supporter. No matter how crazy the idea would be, I can still hear her say ‘that’s a great idea! How can I help?’ She always believed in us and the notion of ‘going for it’.

9) Take care of yourself. Start today. You can do things starting now, no matter your age, your health or your lifestyle, to be a healthier and happier version of yourself.

10) Grieving is a process and is different for everyone. Respect others’ right to grieve their way and in their own time.

As sad as I am that I have lost my Mom – my son will never meet her, I will never see her warm smile or watch her laugh until she cries or go spring plant shopping with her or eat her amazing love-filled prime rib – I am so eternally grateful for the 38 years I was blessed to have her as my Mom. For not only did I have the lessons she taught me while she was here, but also those that I have learned from her passing.

Living With and Preventing Diabetes

Diabetes Photo

I used to think that people got diabetes from eating too much sugar – or so my grandmother used to tell me. I’m sure she did this so that I would stop eating candy! This is obviously not the reason why people get diabetes. (sorry Grandma!)  I became educated on diabetes when my Mom was diagnosed 3 years ago. Not only was this a stress by the shear medical implications of the disease, but also because it became a huge lifestyle change for my Mom.

Type 2 Diabetes is a disease in which your pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or your body does not properly use the insulin it makes. As a result, glucose (sugar) builds up in your blood instead of being used for energy.

Type 2 Diabetes comprises 90% of people with diabetes around the world, and is largely the result of excess body weight and physical inactivity. Until recently, this type of diabetes was seen only in adults but it is now also occurring in children. In Canada, more than 3 million Canadians are living with diabetes and this number is expected to reach 3.7 million by 2020.

In my research, I found out that Manitoba is in a state of a diabetes epidemic. Manitoba has the second highest per capita rate of childhood Type 2 Diabetes in North America (not Type 1 – which is not linked to certain causes including lifestyle). Manitoba also has the highest rate in Canada – by a huge margin. This was incredibly alarming to learn. The questions then are why are people getting it? Can it be prevented and if you do have it, what do you do?

Apart from risk factors, you CAN do things to prevent Type 2 diabetes including maintaining a healthy weight, regular physical exercise and eating healthy.

If you are diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, you can do things to live a long and healthy life. You need to keep your blood glucose (sugar) levels in your individual target range. You can do this by:

  • Eating healthy meals and snacks
  • Participating in regular physical activity
  • Monitoring your blood glucose (sugar) using a home blood glucose meter*
  • Working toward and maintaining a healthy body weight
  • Taking diabetes medications if prescribed by your doctor
  • Managing stress effectively

The Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) recognizes that people living with Type 2 Diabetes need help. They need resources and information in order to live their best lives. As such, they are hosting a CDA Expo on Saturday April 23, 2016 from 9 – 1 at the Wellness Institute – 1075 Leila Ave.

“The CDA Expo is for people living with diabetes and those who support them, as well as for those who are at risk for Type 2 Diabetes” says Laryssa Sawchuk, Coordinator, Public Programs and Services Canadian Diabetes Association This free event is headlined by keynote speaker Dr. Ali Zentner, MD. There will also be a presentation from Dr. Kevin Saunders, MD, who is a family physician and the Medical Director of the Wellness Institute of Seven Oaks General Hospital.

According to Sawchuk, “the event offers practical and up-to-date tips on how to live a full and healthy life with diabetes.” As the focus of the Expo is on healthy eating, there will be the opportunity to ask questions to a panel of local chefs and nutrition experts.

I love that the focus of the Expo is on healthy eating! I also love that this is free for anyone to attend. So if you or someone you know has Type 2 Diabetes or is at risk, please share this information with them. It will be sure to inform and motivate them to make healthy changes in their lives. To register for the event go to diabetes.ca/expo or call 1-800-BANTING (226-8464).

At Fit Communications, we are on a mission to make Canadians healthier by spreading the word of health every day. We truly believe in community and supporting each other to be the healthiest and best we can all be. For more blogs about health and community please click here!

Wellness Mission

Life's enjoyment

Most of us in today’s modern society have come to the realization that in order to live long and have a good quality of life, we need to be focused on our personal wellness.  Wellness is being is a “state or condition of being in good physical and mental health”. It’s a holistic view of health.

At Fit Communications we are passionate about the promotion of health and wellness for all Winnipeggers, Manitobans and Canadians.  As such, we are happy to share some ideas of things you can do on your own personal journey toward wellness – all in your neighbourhood, no matter where you live.

In my research, I was pleasantly surprised by how many “wellness” focused activities, groups and events there are in every corner of our great province. Great job Manitoba! In addition, some of the items discovered are free! So you it proves that you can be living well no matter where you are or how much money you make.

1)      Exercise – not only will exercise improve your physical condition.  Exercise will also reduce stress, release endorphins to create feelings of happiness, and increase relaxation. One fun way to exercise includes swimming. The City of Winnipeg, Steinbach, Thompson and most communities throughout Manitoba have public swimming pools. You don’t have to be Michael Phelps to partake. You can leisurely lap swim, jump off diving boards or take an Aquafit class. Many pools even have “free swims” to make it an affordable event for the whole family.

2)      Yoga – Although it has been around for centuries, its popularity has risen steadily in North America since the 1980s. Today, yoga studios both big and small can be found in nearly every community. Yoga is both a physical exercise as well as a form of medication and spiritual growth.

3)      Winter outdoor activities – staying active in the winter months does amazing things for our mental and physical wellbeing. A few local Winnipeg favourites include tobogganing at “Garbage Hill” in the west-end, snowshoeing at Fort Whyte Alive, skating on the rivers at the Forks or building a snow man in your backyard. Get outside and embrace winter!

4)      Events! Educate yourself and do your homework.  In order to know what options are available in your area, you have to do your homework. If you have the internet, it’s as easy as a Google search for your interest and your area. Check out these websites that post local wellness-type events:

http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-you/manitoba-events

http://attachmentnetwork.ca/events/

http://www.manitobainmotion.ca/news/media/?id=79

5)      Cooking. Whether taking a formal cooking class from the town’s best restaurant’s top chef or a community centre class, taking a cooking class is a great way to learn how to choose, prepare, and eat nutritionally sound and healthy foods. This will help your physical self as you attain or maintain a healthy weight, as well as prevent and treat certain diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other chronic illnesses. Taking one with a friend also makes this a great outing and bonding experience to increase your social wellbeing.

6)      Take an art or pottery class – unleashing your creative side. Express your emotions in a different medium. Locally owned galleries may offer classes or check your local community centre or City of Winnipeg Leisure Guide.

7)      Gardening. By gardening you are getting back to nature. This is probably one of the greatest things to improve your overall wellness. Much research has been done and shown that the benefits to gardening are multiple and cover a wide spectrum. Gardening and participating in community food growing projects can help yourself and your community. They can “contribute to improved social interactions and community cohesion…reduce the occurrence of episodes of stress…reduce physical pain and improve attitudes to healthy eating”. This is especially helpful in northern communities where fresh produce is costly to bring in. Visit http://ahta.org/news/benefits-gardening-and-food-growing-health-and-wellbeing for the full list of benefits to your physical and mental wellbeing.

8)      Get connected with like-minded people to do a variety of activities while building your social wellbeing.  Join a few Facebook groups – or join or create a “Meetup Group” http://www.meetup.com/  The website is all about “neighbors getting together to learn something, do something, share something…”If neither of those are really your thing, look to a local studio, store or community group that hosts workshops, events etc… You can join anything from walking or cycling to photography or parent groups.

I am sure there are many more ways to get fit, inspired or centered. If you have other ways, please share them – with us and your circle. Let’s pass on the positive energy!

Committing yourself to your own wellness isn’t a selfish or self-centered act only about you. It’s about building your community and being “present” with those close to you. Strive for constant self-improvement to live your best life – for life is short and we only get one chance to make the most of it!

Fab Abs

Golden Kate

Kate Hudson showed up at the Golden Globe awards on January 10, 2016 with power house abs! It’s as if she knew I was going to write my blog this week on abdominal exercises and wanted to provide some visual inspiration! I mean – WOW!

So how do you get abs like Kate? OK, well it obviously is a combination of diet and exercise. However, I would like to think that the following exercises will help you get closer to your mid-section goal. As there are 8 abdominal muscles, I have listed my favorite 8 exercises. I realize that my descriptions may not be enough – or the exercises are easier to watch rather than read – so I have included some videos to view.

1) Windshield wipers – lie on your back and raise your legs straight up from your hips – so that your body forms an “L” shape. From here, keeping your upper body flat on your back tips your legs from one side to another – like windshield wipers!

2) Russian Twists – with or without medicine ball – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NeAtimSCxsY

3) Bicycle Crunches – http://www.wikihow.com/Do-Bicycle-Crunches

4) Mountain Climbers – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmwgirgXLYM

5) Good ‘ole fashioned PLANK! – http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/abdominalcorestrength1/qt/plank.htm

6) Side Bends with Dumbbells – Stand up and hold a dumbbell in one hand. Bend your side (the side holding the dumbbell) while lowering the weight closer to the floor. Using and contracting your opposite oblique muscles, straighten up to the starting position. Repeat 10-15 times, switch sides and repeat two more times.

7) Flutter Kicks – lie on your back and raise feet 1 foot off the floor. Simulate flutter kicking in water by alternating legs up and down – 30 times!

8) Leg Raises – lie on your back with legs straight up from your hips. Lower legs to 1 inch above the floor or until your lower back comes off the floor. Raise legs back up to starting position and repeat 20 times.

Having a strong core isn’t just to look fab in a bathing suit. You need a strong core to help you avoid injury, have better posture, and make everyday activities easier. The esthetics are just the bonus!

If you enjoyed this blog, we have lots of great information each week on our dedicated health blog. Here are a few more articles you might enjoy… http://fitcommunications.ca/category/fitness/ or sign up for our newsletter!