Top 3 Greens Blends Worth Checking Out

Greens blends have become one of the top health trends these days. I started making green smoothies and beverages over a year ago and can honestly say they have made a positive difference in my overall wellbeing.

Because I’m always on the go and traveling, I can never predict what I’ll be eating throughout the day, no matter how much I plan. So I start every day off with either a green smoothie or add some organic greens powder into my water in the morning.

There are many health benefits associated with adding greens to your diet including:

-getting the recommended 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily

-supports a healthy immune system

-easy to digest

-alkalizes, detoxifies and energizes the body

-enhances your nutrient profile

etc.

I have tried a handful of greens blends but my top 3 are the following:

1) Life’s Abundance Greens Blend Berry Flavor – I love the taste of Life’s Abundance greens blend, it can added to a smoothie or just mixed with water. They’ve also added a certified organic blend of reishi, maitake, and shitake mushrooms to provide a vegetarian source of iron and B vitamins, and also a great source of phytonutrients and antioxidants.

2) Genuine Health Greens+ O Vegan Natural Acai Mango – This greens blend from Genuine Health is great because they add ingredients like organic spirulina, Atlantic dulse seaweed, chlorella, alfalfa grass, ginkgo balboa, grape seed extract, chia seeds, and sunflower lecithin to their greens mix. This nourishing superfood is a great energy booster.

3) Botanica Unflavoured Organic Greens – Because it is unflavoured, the Botanica greens goes great in morning smoothies and contains some key beneficial ingredients such as barley, wheat grasses and leafy greens, that are all rich in nutrients and vitamins that your body needs.

It is always best to be consistent and also take the recommend dose of greens in order to attain its optimal health benefits. That said, there are tons of qualified holistic nutritionists as well as great books out there that can help you make the best and most education decision for yourself and whether or not you need to add these greens to your diet. What works for someone may not necessarily work for someone else, so it’s best to always do your homework first.

Go Snorkeling with Seals at the Subsea Retreat in British Columbia

For as long as I can remember, I have always been fascinated by marine life. There was even a period of time in my life where I considered studying marine biology, but that ambition quickly faded when I reached high school, due to my poor grades in science. That said, my passion for all-things water-related, has remained over the years.

So when I heard of the Subsea Retreat, out of Sidney, British Columbia, I immediately contacted them. This family-run eco-tour allows ocean enthusiasts like myself, to realize their lifelong dreams of snorkeling or even scuba diving with local seals and other marine creatures. The retreat is run by Jack Madro, who has over 35-years of scuba diving and tour organization experience, Pam and also his daughter Amanda Madro, who is a biochemist, a boat captain and an all-around inspiring woman who is passionate about ocean wildlife. Each bring their many years of diverse experience together to create not only a fun and safe retreat but also give you a ton of information on the area and the local marine life.

What’s great about the Subsea Retreat is that they offer different types of excursions for people of all-ages as well as skill levels. I had personally never gone scuba diving before, hence why I opted for snorkeling. Additionally, they have all the gear necessary for their excursions, so you don’t have to worry about bringing anything with you. You will be able to try on all the equipment with Jack by your side. The family will then bring you out on the water with their own private boat and make sure you are fully comfortable the entire duration of the excursion.

Sidney, is just a short ferry ride away from Vancouver (only 1h40 mins, and the retreat is a 5min drive from the ferry terminal!) or a quick 30min drive from Victoria. While you’re out in Sidney, you’ll be able to stay at their beautiful home that contains several private rooms, a large dining room and living room as well as outdoor deck, BBQ and pool, all located on a beautiful and quiet property. In between excursions, you can really kick-back and relax, you may also see hummingbirds, eagles or even deer while you’re lounging outside.

In addition to snorkeling or scuba diving, there are tons of other activities you can do while you’re staying at the Subsea Retreat such as hiking, SUPing, swimming, there are also lots of cafés, restaurants, farms and even wineries to check out in the area. The family gives great local tips on where to go, if you’re on the hunt for some additional activities.

I couldn’t believe that in just one afternoon, I got to cross two things off of my bucket list: I snorkeled with seals and also got to see a local pod of transient killer whales swim by the boat. I had such a wonderful time with the family that I’m already planning my return. Below is a little recap vlog of my adventures at the Subsea Retreat.

For more information on the Subsea Retreat, go here.

A major thank you to Toyota Canada, for allowing me to test out the 2018 Toyota C-HR during this trip!

5 Questions With: Casey Brown

This week, I had the opportunity to try downhill mountain biking for the very first time at Crankworx in Whistler Blackcomb. One of the top athletes in the sport in British Columbia’s own Casey Brown. She was on the World Cup circuit for several years before continuing her journey with Crankworx and working on tons of rad creative projects related to the sport. She is just about to start filming a new project in the mountains around Revelstoke and will be heading to Italy for the last round of the Enduro World Series. She was also part of the Women in Action Sports forum presented by Red Bull just last night in Whistler and took some time to answer a few questions below.

1) What first got you interested in downhill mountain biking? 

What got me interested in mountain biking in the beginning was my brother, he was my main inspiration, I saw that mountain biking gave him so much freedom and reward with his progression and I wanted to follow in his footsteps.

2) You were part of the Downhill World Cup circuit for quite some time, how much has the sport and circuit evolved since you initially joined? 

I’ve seen a big progression in the World Cup circuit, on the female side the bar has been consistently rising and the way they ride has changed to be more aesthetically pleasing (chicks are riding with better style now).

3) You’re part of the Crankworx tour and though you won’t be biking this weekend due to an injury, how do you usually prepare for such an event? What does your training regime look like these days? 

For Crankworx my training regime is always changing for the events that are coming up. If I’m racing an Enduro, I’ll have to get my cardio up and if I’m doing Whip offs, I’ll need to spend some time on big jumps. I do incorporate yoga and gym time as much as I can.

4) Do you find there’s a growing and supportive community of women in the sport at the moment?  

I’ve seen a decent growth on the women’s side of the sport, when you see more chicks on big teams, it’s a good sign that companies are figuring out the value in having female influence.

5) For those who have yet to try mountain biking or for young riders, what is the one piece of advice you would give them? 

My one piece of advice is have fun with it, you don’t necessarily need to race or be the best, just have a good time with the wind in your hair!

Crankworx

The biggest mountain biking event in the world is current taking place at Whistler Blackcomb.

Crankworx started in the early 2000s due to the increase popularity of the sport in the area. Originally called the Whistler Summer Gravity Fest, the event began in 2003 and included events such as the Joyride Bikercross and “Slopestyle Expression Session” and really kicked off Cranworx as we know it today. In only a few short years, it has become the world’s premier mountain biking festival that attracts both riders and biking enthusiasts from all over the globe.

In addition to the festival organized in Whistler, Crankworx now stops in three other countries throughout the year – France, New Zealand and the newly added destination: Austria. One of the reasons why this festival stands out from the rest is that it showcases not only the top athletes in the sport but also legends as well as gives a platform to up-and-comers, which includes a great program for children called Kidworx.

They have also been working hard at promoting female athletes in the sport, giving them the opportunity to shine as brightly as their male counterparts. This Saturday August 19th 2017, Crankworx and Red Bull will be hosting a Women in Action Sports panel, to celebrate some of the top athletes in action sports from 7:30-8pm at the Whistler Olympic Plaza. This will be a chance for everyone to get to hear these athlete’s journeys, what they love about their sports, etc.

Crankworx has become the most popular event held in Whistler each year, attracting over 300 000 spectators. The Red Bull Joy Ride, the most popular event of the festival, attracts 30,000+ fans each year!

As part of my inaugural Crankworx experience, I decided to give mountain biking a try and had the best time with the folks at Whistler Blackcomb Bike School yesterday. Whistler Blackcomb has so many amazing trails for riders of all levels. It is definitely worth giving the sport a try if you haven’t already!

Crankworx is on in Whistler until August 20th 2017. For more info on the festival or how you can attend, go here.

Top 5 Hiking Essentials for Summer

Since hiking is everyone’s favourite activity here in British Columbia, I have also started going on a handful of day trips across the province. Your success as a hiker can definitely be determined by the gear your wear and bring with you so I wanted to share with you today some of my current hiking essentials for the summer and fall!

1) Camelbak Hydration Pack – I loath carrying around several water bottles with me when I hike, so getting the Camelbak pack was one of the best ideas I’ve ever had. It comes equipped with 2L hydration bag as well as tons of pockets and storage to put snacks, my phone, wallet, etc. This one also comes equipped with a whistle, which is a must when you live in bear country!

2) Saje Wellness Journey On Kit – This customized Saje kit is perfect for staying energized and refreshed during those long hikes. The kit comes equipped with deodorant, lip balm, lotion and their energy remedy. It also comes in a super lightweight bag that is easy to strap onto your Camelbak or backpack.

3) KEEN Terradora boots – These lightweight boots are a must-have for any short or long hike. KEEN specifically designed these boots having women in mind making sure they fit like a glove and can be used in all sorts of terrain. The boots are also breathable and waterproof.

4) MEC Aquanator Jacket – Because you can never be sure what type of weather you’ll encounter during a hike, this MEC waterproof jacket with fully taped seams is a great layering piece to bring along. It comes equipped with underarm zips for cooling as well as adjustable cuffs and hood.

5) Stance Socks – A good pair of socks is crucial when hiking for a long time. These Stance Peak Hike socks are made with merino wool, polyester, cotton and nylon fibers that help keep your feet cool, pull moisture away faster and will last you hike after hike!

Some other must-haves include: a headlamp, trail poles, bear spray/bear bell, hat, etc.

Happy Hiking!

Testing Out the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 Laptop

I’m super grateful to have the opportunity to try out some of the coolest new gadgets and gear currently available on the market, especially when they are products that fit so naturally with my lifestyle.

For the past two weeks, I’ve been testing out the brand new Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 laptop. I’ve been bringing it with me on my travels as well as to my outdoor workouts and to the fitness classes I’ve been teaching. The fact that this ultralight and portable computer is made with premium materials like machine aluminum, carbon fiber and hardened Corning® Gorilla® Glass NBTTM that allows for added durability, is a major plus for me since I’m always on the go.

The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 is the first laptop to introduce the InfinityEdge display, which is the 5.2mm border on the top and both sides of the computer, thus allowing for maximum screen space. The computer’s UltraSharp Quad HD+ display with 5.7 million pixels, anti-reflective coating and high contrast ratio allows for high resolution viewing, always providing a crisp and clear image no matter the lighting. So when I’m taking the laptop with me for some of my outdoor park workouts, it allows for a great viewing experience throughout my exercise session.

An added bonus is also the laptop’s long-lasting battery life. When you’re only using productivity applications like Word or Excel, or for me, timers for my workouts, the battery can last for up to 15 hours, or alternatively up to 9 hours when streaming video like Netflix content.

Plus! the device is a 360-degree convertible, meaning it can be used in 4 modes – like the tent mode above, the laptop mode, stand mode and even tablet mode! This allows me to use the computer in different ways depending on what activity I’m up to.

The device is a great all-around computer because in addition to its transportability and sleek design it is also fast and efficient. The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 is equipped with a 7th Gen Intel® Core i5, which means top of the line performance power. It also comes with an expandable 16GB memory. Furthermore, it is equipped with 2 USB Type-C 3.1 ports, which enables charging and display functionality. One of these ports is also a Thuberbolt 3 port, which allows for transfer speeds 8x greater than the speed of USB 3.0 ports at up to 40Gbps. Note that with this computer, you will also receive a USB-A and USB-C adapter. So whether I’m transferring music for my classes, photos for my website or working on some class prep or writing articles, I know the computer can handle it all.

But that’s not all! The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 also has a precision touchpad, allowing for easy manipulation. It allows you to pan, pinch and zoom as well as precisely select items on your screen. You can also use the Dell Active Pen, to help with handwriting, selecting and even drawing.

It also comes with stereo speakers that are professionally tuned with Waves MaxxAudio® Pro, which allows me to prepare playlists for my classes or even play music while I work out.

Finally, another important aspect worth mentioning is that the XPS laptop is one of the greenest laptops out there. From the design all the way to the recycled packaging, Dell always has the environment in mind. They avoid materials such as cadmium, hexavalent chromium, mercury and some phthalates plus they are all BFR/PVC-free. Additionally, the laptop ships in recyclable and compost-friendly packaging. Dell also offers the possibility to recycle old products through their Dell Reconnect partnership present in 78 countries.

As my first experience with a 2-in-1 device, I definitely see what the value is, especially for my lifestyle. You can learn more about the new Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 here.

This post was written in collaboration with Dell but all opinions are my own.

Become a Skin Checker in 3 Easy Steps

I love being out in the sun. With summer being my favourite season and constantly being in search of my next outdoor adventure, I spend considerable amounts of time outdoors every day. That said, over the years I’ve become a lot smarter with my sun habits.

Research has shown that skin cancer is more common than all other cancers combined yet it is highly treatable. 90% of skin cancers are curable if detected early. Because 86% of melanomas and 90% of non-melanoma cancers are caused by sun exposure, adopting safe sun habits is crucial.

Today, thanks to the help of La Roche-Posay, I’m sharing with you some of the habits I’ve recently adopted in order to not only save my skin but also play safe in the sun. It’s a simple 3-step approach that you can also follow.

Step 1: Become a Skin Checker and check for moles using the ABCDE method

Because skin cancer is a type of cancer that can be seen with the naked eye, becoming a Skin Checker and using the ABCDE method is key in early detection of skin cancer.

A – Stands for Asymmetry. A mole that has an asymmetrical shape, that isn’t round or oval, that has contouring and colouring that isn’t evenly distributed around its centre.

B – stands for Border. If borders are irregular or jagged like on a map.

C – stands for Colour. If the mole has several colours (brown, red, white, etc.)

D – stands for Diameter. If the mole is greater than 6 mm (the size of a pencil eraser)

E – stands for Evolution. If the mole evolves quickly and changes in size, shape, thickness or colour.

If any of the moles you have checked fall into any of the above categories, they must be checked by a dermatologist.

Step 2: Apply high broad spectrum sunscreen. 

Because not all sun protection is created equal, it’s important to choose your sunscreen carefully. UVA rays represent 95% of UV rays and penetrate through clouds and even glass, making these rays damaging all year long. When looking for a sunscreen, you should look for the UVA logo, that indicates that the UVA protection is in line with the Canadian sunscreen requirements. You should also look for High broad-spectrum protection and also look for Mexoryl® technology (is a specialized UVA filter capable of dissolving in water, thus giving unrivalled UVA protection and creating a homogenous protection for your skin). Also, contrary to popular belief SPF (Sun Protection Factor) does not indicate the time you can stay under the sun but rather indicates the UVB protection factor. La Roche-Posay‘s Athelios provides this advance protection for your skin. The sunscreen is dermatologist tested, suitable for sensitive skin, fragrance-free, non-comedogenic, allergy tested and is also free of parabens and water resistant. It comes in a variety of formulas including the new 100% mineral filter lotion. They offer both body and face lotions that are made for every skin type and kind of exposure for both adults and children.

Step 3: Play safe in the sun with My UV Patch, a wearable “sun-safer behavioural coach”

My UV Patch has proven to improve sun safer behaviour while also minimizing sunburns. The heart-shaped patch is easy to use with an intuitive mobile app that monitors your sun exposure in real-time. You can scan the patch and the app will use the different photosensitive dyes on the square to determine the UV exposure level. Using an algorithm that factors in your personal data (phototype, skin type, location and weather info), the app will generate essential information on what behaviours to adopt and what protection to apply. The app is incredibly user-friendly and easy to navigate while the patch is easy to scan. La Roche-Posay will be distributing nearly 1 million patches for free across the country so that you too can play safe in the sun.

By following these three steps and also making sure to avoid long sun exposure, especially during peak sun hours in the middle of the day, I’m one step closer to preventing any potential onset of skin cancer.

For more information on La Roche-Posay‘s Become A Skin Checker campaign, go here.

This post was written in collaboration with La Roche-Posay but all opinions are my own.

5 things to do in Osoyoos

Osoyoos is one of the hottest places in Canada, literally! Located just 4 hours from Vancouver, this desert-like region is well worth the visit. Check out my 5 things to do in the area below!

1) Visit the Nk’ Mip cultural centre – If you’re headed to Osoyoos, you’ll want to reserve a few hours for the Nk’ Mip cultural centre, located right near downtown Osoyoos. Run by the Osoyoos Indian Band, the cultural centre offers lots of great learning experiences via interactive presentations of song, dance, wildlife exhibits, etc. They have exhibits both inside and outside, sharing the history of their people, the land, the language, etc. You can also hike through some of their trails that start off right at the centre.

2) Eat at Dolci Deli – This trendy looking café is where you’ll want to go for homemade lunch and dinner. The Dolci Deli serves up tasty dishes using local ingredients and offer a variety of vegan as well as gluten-free options. They have a beautiful outdoor patio and vintage-inspired bar and dining room. The staff is also incredibly friendly and the food is reasonably priced.

3) Swim in Osoyoos Lake – Known for its warm water, the Osoyoos Lake is one of the main attractions in the region. Its sandy bottom and long beach area, offers beachgoers plenty of area to set up for a long day of lakeside fun. If you’re also into SUPing, kayaking or even wake boarding, there are lots of places to rent equipment from and where you can organize water adventures!

4) Go for breakfast at JoJo’s Café – This local hotspot is where you’ll want to go to start off your day. JoJo’s Café is a great place for coffee, breakfast and also to work as they have some free wifi and lots of seating options inside and out. They even have some yummy homemade vegan muesli!

5) Watch the sunset from a winery – The area is filled with a handful of wineries. With the hot arid climate in the area, the Osoyoos region is able to produce a lot of the heavier reds that other areas of the province or even country cannot. One of the best spots to watch the sunset, while sipping on some delicious wine is from the Nk’ Mip Cellars‘ outdoor lounge area. You can order a flight of wine as well as one of their boards and watch as the sun sets over the lake and valley.

My Happy Place

My Happy Place can mean so many different things to so many different people. It can also evolve over time.

My Happy Place, has always been close to the ocean. Whenever I am close to the ocean, I feel at peace, I feel calm and I feel energized. So moving to Vancouver and most recently to North Van, has been such a huge boost for me. I’m happiest when I’m outdoors being active and having the ocean in front of me when I work out is such a huge bonus.

The views from North Van are epic, to say the least. I get to see the city skyline, the ocean as well as the mountains. It’s also so much calmer on the North Shore, allowing me to workout in beautiful spots almost all by myself!

Whether it’s going for a run, cycling, doing a little HIIT circuit, practicing yoga or whatever kind of activity I get up to, doing it outdoors and close to the ocean, is what makes me the happiest!

Hyba is launching a *CONTEST* today. They’re giving you the chance to win a $50 gift card. All you have to do is post a photo of you in your happy place on Instagram and tag @hyba while using the #HybaHappyPlace hashtag for your chance to win. The contest ends September 30th 2017. Good luck!

Photos by: @Offner

What I’m wearing: Hyba Reflective High-Impact Sports Bra (get it here), Hyba Fast Track Capri Legging (get it here), Tom Tom Spark 3 Watch (get it here).

This post was written in collaboration with Hyba but all opinions are my own.

5 Things to do on Salt Spring Island

If you’re looking for a great weekend getaway idea for the summer or fall, try out Salt Spring Island. It’s just a quick 90 min ferry ride from Vancouver. Check my top 5 things to do in Salt Spring Island below.

1) Visit the Saturday market – The Saturday market is a great way to start off a weekend trip to Salt Spring Island. Whether you’re a fan of crafts, jewelry, handmade goodies or delicious fresh organic produce and homemade snacks, you’ll want to stop by the market during the day. It starts early in the morning and lasts until mid-afternoon. There’s also music and even some dancing in the grass, making it a fun outing for the entire family. If you make it out, make sure you grab some “Green Godess” tacos from the market taco stand, they make the best lunch! If you’re lucky you may also see Raffi there (word on the street is he sells his music there!).

2) Go swimming at St Mary Lake – This beautiful lake is located right in the middle of the island. You can pretty much park anywhere on the side of the road where you find space and walk down to the lake. There is also a small beach area with sand but that can get quite crowded on the weekend. The lake is warm in the summer, making it a great way to cool off after a day of outdoor activities!

3) Hike up Mt Maxwell – There are tons of trails that are available around the island but one of my favourites was the Mt Maxwell trails because of the incredibly views you can get at the top. The trails are uncrowded and allow you to explore a bunch of different viewpoints and landscapes on the island.

4) Cycle around the Island – Salt Spring Island is a popular destination for cycling enthusiasts. Lots of people cycle around the island, stopping at all the different farms, art studios, yoga studios, etc. around the island. You can find a map with the bike routes on the island here. There are also cycling excursions that you can join and bike shops, in case you need any tune ups while journeying across the island. If you’re a fan of hills, then you’ll be well served on the island!

5) Grab a snack at Morningside Organic Café – This cute little vegan café is located right beside the Fulford Harbour ferry stop. The Morningside Organic Café serves up a variety of bowls, wraps, vegan pizzas, gourmet sandwiches, nut mylks and more! You can also buy local produce and even books at the café. It’s also the coolest looking café around!