5 Questions With: SriMati Aka Julie Piatt, Author of This Cheese is Nuts!

Photo by: Maclay Heriot

I first heard of SriMati, aka Julie Piatt, via her book, The Plantpower Way a few years ago but it was only in the last year and a half that I really started following all of the incredible things she has been doing. SriMati, is a mother, a yogi, a spiritual leader, a vegan chef, a podcast host and also the wife of renown athlete and podcast host himself, Rich Roll. She recently recently her latest book, This Cheese is Nuts!, and is already working on her third called The Plantpower Way; Italia, which will be released in 2018. She will also be leading her first solo retreat this October in Malta. I’m incredibly honoured to have her share some of her journey today with you all!

1) You recently released your book called This Cheese Is Nuts! to critical acclaim, why was the creation and publication of this book so important for you?

In my first book, The Plantpower Way, I included a foundational basic cheese section which contained recipes for absolutely delicious warm cashew cheese and brazil nut cream.  I knew I  had only scratched the surface of what I would discover would turn out to be an earth shaking evolution of what I like to call cheese 2.0.  This is a kinder, gentler cheese which is in alignment with health and wellness for body, heart and spirit.

2) When did you first get interested in adopting a plant-based diet and how has it changed your life?   

I began to eat more living vibrant foods when I began practicing yoga and meditation.  The desire to eat meat simply dropped from me as a by product of my practice.  Later I developed a golf ball sized cyst in my neck which I considered a gift and an opportunity to explore the reality of “Food As Medicine”.  I found it truly was, and my body healed itself with the use of medicinal ayurvedic herbs, a lifestyle reset and largely a plant based diet.

3) You are a woman of many hats. In addition to being a vegan chef, you are also the host of a spiritual and wellness podcast called Divine Throughline, a musician and a yogi, amongst many other things. What do each of these different disciplines bring to your life?

It’s true I have always been wired in a multi -dimensional way.  To me, 2+2 = 22 instead of 4.  I express myself in many mediums or channels for my creativity.  The reason I can do that is because I know that it is really just one thing expressing in many different ways; the force that is breathing all life.

4) In this fast-paced world that we currently live in, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and also uninspired to create but you seem to constantly be working on new creative endeavours. What is the key for creating successfully and not letting the outside world distract you from your mission?

At this point in my journey, I understand that everything in my life is simply by the grace of the cosmic Mother.  A human life is precious beyond measure and if I am here alive and in a body, then I will share my heart with all I have been given as an offering of devotion to life.

5) Meditation and mindfulness are hot topics these days. How can meditation help you navigate through every day life?

Yoga and meditation are ancient practices of connecting with life force that I have experienced to be shelter from the storm and grace in times of suffering.  They are the first things.  The essentials before anything else enters.

For more information on SriMati, check out her website here.

My Fall Essentials

With the cool weather slowly creeping in, I wanted to share today some of my fall essentials that will keep me cozy and warm either while out adventuring or while relaxing at home.

1) Native Apollo Rain Shoe – Being a Vancouverite, I know that I will be spending lots of time outdoors regardless of impending rain fall, so having a good pair of rain boots is KEY! I love the Native Shoes boots because they’re so incredibly light and comfortable, they’re easy to slip on and look super sleek. The perfect shoe to keep your feet dry.

2) Stance Hike Socks – Whether for hiking or to keep your feet warm while lounging at home, the Stance hike socks are the perfect blend of merino wool, polyester, cotton and nylon fibers that help keep your feet cool while also pulling moisture away faster. They also come in a cool variety of patterns!

3) Escents Squalane Enriching Body Oil – With colder weather comes dry skin, so I’ve been using this great new all-natural oil from Escents that contains Olive Squalane, Rose Hip Seed Oil and Carrot Seed Oil. It penetrates deep to hydrate without clogging pores and also reducing dark spots, improves skin tone, treats fine lines and wrinkles, just to name a few.

4) Saje Aromagem 2.0 Gold Diffuser – This diffuser is has become my go-to relaxation technique. The Saje diffuser is super easy to use and can mist for up to 4.5 hours. It is quiet and super energy efficient and can also be used as a humidifier. You can diffuse all of your favourite Saje 100% natural essential oils with it!

5) Brunette The Label Crew Sweater – Cozy sweaters are an absolute must for me in the fall. I recently discovered this awesome Vancouver brand called Brunette The Label. They’ve got super cute tees and oversized sweaters that have really simple writing on them. I am definitely fond of their new special “Redhead” collection!

6) Botanica Turmeric Golden Mylk – This is my absolute go-to fall drink. This organic Botanica ayurvedic beverage is comforting and also contains anti-inflammatory properties. The mylk is made from turmeric, coconut, ashwagandha and black pepper. There are no fillers or artificial ingredients. It mixes great with warm coconut or even almond milk!

What are your fall must-haves?

Projectors a Good Alternative to buying a Television? Reviewing the Dell Mobile Projector | M115HD

After selling all of our things when we moved from Toronto to Vancouver, we no longer had a television to watch content on. So when we recently signed our first lease in Vancouver, the idea of buying a mobile projector, instead of a regular television, came up.

I had never really thought about it before but it seemed like a really neat idea. Not only could we watch our content at home on a bigger screen but it would also allow us to bring it with us when we traveled.

There are so many portable projectors on the market at the moment, one of which is Dell’s M115HD Mobile Projector. Having just tested out one of their latest laptops, I was curious to try out their smallest projector.

OVERVIEW

With the Dell M115HD Mobile Projector being 104mm x 105.3mm x 36.5mm, it can easily fit in your purse or backpack, making it super easy to carry around. Additionally, it has a 1GB internal flash memory, meaning you can store some movies or videos on it without having to bring the media you want to watch with you. It allows you to watch media in Full HD 720p and is equipped with 450 ANSI lumens, thus making it extremely bright even in ambient-light environments. The projector’s connectivity capability allows you to plug all sorts of devices using their HDMI cable. You can also use the projector not only at home in your living room, on the ceiling in your bedroom but also on the road when you travel, you can get really creative with how you use it.

PROS

  • It comes with equipped with VGA, HDMI and USB inputs making it super easy to connect to your laptop, camera, DVD player, video game console or even mobile device. You can even watch content with a microSD card.
  • This Dell M115HD projector has a long projection life, which can provide up to 30,000 hours of projection.
  • The images are ultra colorful and bright thanks to the DLP® and BrilliantColor™ technology. You can also adjust the sharpness of the image with just the touch of a button.
  • You have the ability to project wirelessly from your laptop or even your phone using a USB dongle (sold separately unfortunately!) or WiFi Doc app (that you can download online!).

CONS:

  • Its built-in 1W speaker isn’t very loud, so we end up having to plug our external speaker to the headphone jack if we want to listen to something in a louder environment.
  • It does not have an internal system like other projectors that allows you to connect directly to sources like YouTube, etc.
  • The projector has already been out on the market for a little while so hopefully Dell will be coming out with a newer and even more powerful version soon!

RECAP

All in all, we’ve been using the projector for over two weeks and are really happy with the fact that we can now watch movies on a much bigger screen than if we would have bought a standard television. The Dell M115HD Mobile Projector can easily put it away and we can also bring it with us on our upcoming travels thanks to its practical travel case. It’s a really great alternative to those wanting to get a “home cinema” without spending all the money in the world.

For more information on the Dell M115HD Mobile Projector, go here.

Finding the Type of Yoga that Works for You

Traveling is a great way to discover new yoga studios as well as new spots or ways to do yoga. I was recently in California for a couple of days and took the opportunity to try a variety of different yoga practices. Some of which where a first for me and some of which I had tried before. There’s definitely a yoga practice for everyone out there, all you have to find is what floats your boat. Here are a few that I tried out:

1) Yoga on the sand – Second time doing a flow and yoga while being on the beach. I must say, it’s a great way to work on balance, especially for poses that require strength and potentially even some balancing. It can even become hot yoga, on warm beach days. That said, the views are exquisite and the sound of the ocean is the perfect soundtrack for a relaxing session.

2) Yoga with candles – While in SoCal, I tried out a brand new studio called Yoga Bound in Carlsbad. What drew me to the studio is that they were offering a candlelit yoga session in the evening which sounded incredibly relaxing. And relaxing it was! It was a great mix of restorative yoga and meditation, a calming way to end a busy day.

3) Yoga with music – I love doing just about anything to music and yoga is no exception. A good playlist can get me feeling and thinking about all sorts of stuff, which is especially true while I’m doing yoga. I love yoga studios like The Distrikt because they play hip hop during yoga or classes that play folk or singer-songwriters during practice. I find it makes the experience that much more special and for someone like myself who’s still new to the practice, it makes it a lot more approachable.

4) Yoga at a hotel – Lots of hotels these days offer either complimentary yoga classes or even mats to use on their property for yoga. That way, you don’t have to worry about traveling with your own mat. Hotels usually have either beautifully groomed lawns or even rooftops or poolside spaces where you can practice either alone or with a teacher, depending on the hotel.

5) Yoga in a park – I never shy away from practicing yoga in a park on my own. Parks are a plenty in California and pretty much everywhere. It’s always easy to just bring a mat or even beach towel to do a quick flow in the park. I used to be shy and feel a little strange about it but after seeing so many people about it, it didn’t feel so awkward. I’m all about taking workouts outdoors, so this is a great option that you can do just about anywhere.

What is your favourite kind of yoga? Where do you like to practice?

Photos by: Polarized Studios (https://www.polarizedstudios.com/)

What I’m wearing: Hyba mesh medium-impact sports bra (get it here), Hyba open back tank (get it here), Hyba Ribbed Legging (get it here).

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

5 Things to do in Palm Springs

Traveling to Palm Springs and looking for new activities to do while in the area? I’ve got you covered. The greater Palm Springs area offers such a wide variety of activities that there’s something for everyone! This was my 5th trip to the area and I always find new things to do. Here are my latest recommendations.

1) Pioneertown – Located just a quick drive from downtown Palm Springs via route 62, Pioneertown is an old live-in film set dating back to the 1940s that has now been transformed into a tourist attraction. The area was incredibly well kept and though a little small, is worth the trek. They’ve got a few shop as well as a bar and restaurant where you can stop in if you’re in need of a snack.

2) Tahquitz Canyon – This hidden gem is a stone’s throw away from downtown Palm Springs. Tahquitz Canyon is a very well kept secret in the city and rightfully so. This beautiful canyon has been around for 1500+ years and is part of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians Reservation. There is a beautiful 2 mile hike that leads to a 60 foot waterfall right in the middle of the canyon. You have to pay a small fee to walk on the trail but they also have a visitor centre with exhibits and information about local archeological finds, etc.

3) Native Foods Café – Around since 1994, Native Foods Café provides delicious and quality plant-based meals in a cafeteria style low-key restaurant in Palm Springs. Whether you’re craving a bowl, sandwich, burger or salad, they’ve got a wide variety of tasty eats to choose from. Though originally from Palm Springs, they’ve had so much success that they’ve expanded to several other locations across the Southern United States.

4) Off Road Rentals – If you’ve driven into Palm Springs before, you’ve probably noticed Off Road Rentals, located on the right of the highway 111 heading into town. This family-run business has been around since the late 80s. You can rent one of their 4-speed quads and drive up and down their huge sand dunes. It’s an amazing time for anyone wanting a little adventure. Depending on how busy the course is, they may even give you some free riding time!

5) Mt. San Jacinto – One of the greatest finds in all of Southern California. Mt. San Jacinto can be accessed via the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway (at $25+ a round trip!). It’s a quick 10 min ride up or for those wanting an extra challenge, you can also hike up the 10,000 ft mountain and just got a one-way down. Once at the Mountain Station, you can refuel or pack snacks and explore some of their 50+ miles of trails at the top. The trails offers some of the most stunning views of the desert, valley and high country forest.

 

5 Things I’ve Learned Riding a Bike in Vancouver

Being a new cyclist in the greater Vancouver area, I’ve learned a lot about cycling around the city these past couple of weeks. So I wanted to share with you today, some of the things I’ve learned if you’re thinking of starting to ride a bike (even as fall rolls around!) or if you’re planning to rent a bike when you come to the city for a visit.

1) Bike lanes – Unlike Toronto, where I’m from, bike lanes in Vancouver are legit. Every bike lane is clearly indicated at the top of street signs. Some of the bike lanes are also painted in green, reminding drivers that they are not allowed on that area of the road. Additionally, a lot of the bike lanes here in Vancouver are separated either with cones, plants or even a cement median, thus protecting cyclists even further when biking around town. To get a full cycling map of the downtown core, go here and for the North Shore go here.

2) The hills are alive – If you’re like me and you’ve never really biked up hills before, be prepared to be doing a lot of uphill climbs. No matter where you are in the city or on the North Shore, the hills will have you sweating up a storm. That said, what goes up must come down, so the downhill rides are always that much sweeter. In all honesty, I’ve stopped or even walked my bike a couple of times when I couldn’t pedal anymore, it definitely takes some getting used to but it’ll make you that much stronger!

3) Relationship with cars – I’ve found that compared to a LOT of other cities across North America, a cyclist’s relationship with automobile traffic in Vancouver is a lot more pleasant (most of the time!) than it is in other places. There’s an awareness here that isn’t present in most parts of the country and because so many drivers are also cyclists, I think it makes a huge difference in their attitudes towards you and your bike. That said, buses and cabs are still the scariest, so definitely always be vigilant when riding around town. I’ve learned that the best thing to do is be VERY visible and loud. Invest in bright lights for your bike, a good bell and even a reflective vest or clothing. MEC has a ton of options for you to choose from, including the vest below.

4) You need rain gear – It’s inevitable, no matter how sunny it is right now, if you’re coming to Vancouver and planning on biking or hoping to bike well into fall and winter (which is very doable, as temperatures stay quite warm all-year-round!), you’ll want to invest in rain gear, or else cycling won’t be nearly as enjoyable. Since I’ve been commuting with my bike to and from work, I know that I will soon have to invest in proper slacks and jacket to protect me from the rain. Luckily, MEC has a ton of cool and reasonably priced items like these waterproof pants priced at $69 that can definitely do the trick.

5) Get to know your bike – I’ve never owned a brand new bike before and never really cared much for learning about bikes. But when I got my new bike from MEC, I was able to learn a ton about how my bike worked, how to take it apart, how to pump up its tires, etc. Whether your bike is from MEC or not, you can easily bring it in the store and not only get a tune up and bike parts but also get some education about cycling and your bike in general from one of their store experts. MEC even has cycling clinics and events that you can register for (check them out here). That way, you can ride around the city having all of the knowledge necessary for a safe ride. Plus, in times of crisis, you can always resort to YouTube tutorials. I did just that the other day for my back tire and I got it all figured out.

Safe riding everyone!

Discovering the New 2018 Toyota C-HR

I had the pleasure of spending the last couple of weeks adventuring around British Columbia with Toyota‘s brand new car, the 2018 C-HR. It was the perfect vehicle for both city and nature discoveries. Its ultra-sleek and unique design combined with Toyota’s best safety features, made it a reliable and fun car to drive, in all driving conditions.

LOOK

Its two-toned colourful exterior turned heads everywhere I went. This car is without a doubt one of the coolest looking vehicles on the market with its modern design. Toyota did a great job imagining a car that stood out from the pack and pushed the envelop on a design standpoint. The vehicle’s standard 17″ alloy wheels and also diamond-cut lines, make it very pleasing to the eyes.

SAFETY 

Toyota is renown for its top of the line safety standards and features. The Toyota Safety Sense P system includes lane departure alerts, pre-collision system with pedestrian and dynamic radar cruise control, just to name a few. The vehicle also comes equipped with 10 airbags, a monitoring system that alerts you if you have low fuel or washer fluid, an ajar door, etc. Moreover, the vehicle also offers the Toyota Star Safety System that features Brake Assist, Traction Control, Vehicle Stability Control and more! All of these safety features gave me peace of mind while exploring through the city and mountains and allowed for the safest driving conditions.

PERFORMANCE

Performance enthusiasts will be happy to know that the C-HR contains a 144-hp, 2.0L, 4-cyl VALVEMATIC and a continuously variable transmission. You also have the ability to choose Sport mode, which transforms the vehicle in a simulated 7-speed sequential Shiftmatic transmission, making it that much more fun to drive. But with speed comes the need for a reliable breaking system, something that Toyota has not overlooked. The car’s braking system works with front and rear discs and an Anti-lock braking system, braking assist and electronic brake force distribution, which allows you to keep control of the vehicle no matter what situation may arise.

TECHNOLOGY

It’s impossible to talk about the vehicle without noting some of its great tech features such as the backup camera that comes up in the electrochromic rearview mirror, the rear cross traffic alert with blind spot monitor as well as the Smart Key system, allowing you to start the car with just the push of a button. And for avid music fans like myself, the car boasts an impressive sound system and all the jacks you could need to play your favourite playlists or albums while on the road.

RECAP

All in all, my time driving around with the 2018 Toyota C-HR was very pleasant. It allowed me to discover new parts of British Columbia and drive through windy country roads, mountainous areas, the beach as well as the crowded streets of Vancouver. The C-HR is a car that has all the modern features a driver wants, a spacious interior and trunk for longer trips while never compromising safety or comfort for the driver and passengers of the car.

For more info on the 2018 Toyota C-HR, go here.

Fueling my Recovery with CLIF

One’s journey back to any sport after an injury is always a challenging one. It requires patience and a whole lot of dedication to make sure you get back to the same level of conditioning as before and that you become stronger than ever, while also carefully monitoring your injury to make sure everything is on track.

This is my second comeback to running after being injured twice in the past two years, so I’m being extra smart this time around and putting all the chances on my side for a successful recovery. One of the things that is key during training is making sure you fuel your body right. I have always loved bringing along some CLIF snacks with me no matter what adventure I get up to and this is especially true when I go running.

CLIF just released some brand new organic BLOKS that come in 33-calorie cubes that are easy to bring along in my running pouch. These cubes supply me with energy during long runs, sprint workouts at the track or even races. Since I’ve been ramping up my training again, leading up to my next race at the end of October, I’ve been bringing these along. The chews provide the perfect combination of carbohydrates and electrolytes yet without any of the garbage. There are no partially hydrogenated oils, no high fructose corn syrup, no synthetic preservatives and no artificial flavours. CLIF’s new Salted Watermelon Flavour supplies you with even extra sodium that helps counter muscle cramps and gives you even more electrolytes when your body needs it the most. The BLOKS come in 9 different flavours including Tropical Punch, which is also flavoured with caffeine, for those needing that extra little boost.

I have used BLOKS in races before, it was my go-to snack during my first ever race over two years ago at the Nike Women’s 15k in Toronto and I have stuck to this winning formula since. I like that you can easily calculate portions while running and that they aren’t too sweet, so they won’t make you feel nauseous or heavy while running.

Since I’m now training primarily in British Columbia, I’ve been including more and more hikes and trail runs into my regimen. Making use of the beautiful scenery and mountains that are right at my doorstep. For hikes, I always pack CLIF Nut Butter Filled Energy Bar because I know that I’ll want a healthy and filling snack along the way. My favourite flavour is the creamy Peanut Butter bar. These bars are great because they are 100% plant-based (made with nut butter, brown rice and peas), certified organic, non-GMO, contain less than 10g of sugar, and are free of hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavours. They’re the perfect blend of carbohydrates, protein and fat that will keep me going throughout my hikes.

I feel good bringing these products along with me because I know CLIF has my best interest at heart as an athlete. This family and employee-owned company is not only committed to providing the best sports nutrition to their consumers but also committed to supporting the community of athletes and adventure seekers out there through a variety of initiatives.

Now that I’m back, I’m excited to see where my journey will take me while making sure I fuel my body right along the way. #FEEDYOURADVENTURE

For more information on CLIF, visit: http://www.clifbar.ca/

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!