MELSAYS PODCAST – EP. 8 – Kate Horsman

Happy Sunday! I had to take a little break from the podcast this past month but I’m excited to share with you today a brand new episode!

My guest for this episode, is Kate Horsman, she is a holistic nutritionist and natural foods chef. She specializes in Women’s Health, Body Image, Eating Disorders as well as plant-based nutrition and athletics. She also leads workshops and retreats in Vancouver and beyond where she shares her passion for helping others. After following her on social media for the past couple of months, I’m thrilled to have her share some of her wisdom on the podcast today!

The podcast is just one click away or you can also listen to it below. If you enjoyed our chat, make sure you subscribe to the MELSAYS PODCAST here -> iTunes and Google Play.

There are a ton of exciting guests coming on the podcast in the next few weeks: 2018 Olympic Gold Medalist in Ski Cross Kelsey Serwa, Founder of Hot for Food Lauren Toyota, author and modern day explorer Kate Harris and more!

Making Gut Health a Priority this Spring

With spring in the air, now is as good of a time as any to do a little health check. The gut is often referred to as the engine of the human body, so taking care of one’s gut can have a big impact on your overall health. Did you know that taking probiotics like Renew Lifes Ultimate Flora Critical Care 50 Billion can positively impact your digestion and gut health? It wasn’t until recently that I realized the importance of maintaining a healthy gut.

With my health being my top priority, I wanted to get more information on what a probiotic actually is and its overall benefits. So, I got in touch with an expert on the subject who explained the following.

The state of a person’s gut can influence health in many ways. With optimal digestive health, vitamin and nutrient absorption increases, which can result in more energy, reduced signs of aging and better health overall,” explains Naturopathic Doctor and Renew Life Canada Spokesperson, Dr. Sara Celik, ND. “Few are aware that the digestive system affects immunity, inflammation, and other critical functions in the body. From food allergies to headaches and skin problems to anxiety, the gut is a key player in leading a healthy lifestyle. A body without a healthy gut is like a car without a working engine.”

Although everyone responds differently to probiotics, she states that she’s seen the following five benefits in over a decade of using probiotics in her practice:

  1. Improved digestion and a reduction in IBS symptoms such as gas, bloating and constipation.
  2. Reduced cold and flu as a result of a stronger immune system.
  3. Better skin – probiotics may help with occasional break outs in some cases.
  4. Fewer food sensitivities as a result of improved gastrointestinal health.
  5. Less fatigue since improved digestion results in better absorption of vitamins from food.

The use of probiotics can be especially beneficial to women, as we are more prone to occasional constipation and digestive health issues than men are. It can also help women with chronic yeast infections and urinary tract infections better balance their good and bad bacteria. Renew Life’s line of probiotic supplements offers a variety of potency, multi-strain probiotic formulations to choose from and Renew Life has been focused on digestive health for over two decades. Dr. Sara says, “The potency or culture count refers to the total amount of live, ‘friendly’ bacterial cultures per dose. Since each person has unique needs, it’s important to select a probiotic supplement that best suits the individual. Since probiotics are alive, a delivery system such as enteric coating will ensure the bacteria arrive alive in the intestines where they are mostly needed,” adds Dr. Sara.

In addition to taking supplements, adding gut-friendly foods to your diet can also help deliver health benefits. Foods such as yogurt, fermented vegetables, Jerusalem artichokes, onions, garlic, and bananas are all great for your gut.

So, with that new knowledge, I’ll be doing a different kind of “cleaning” this Spring, focusing on my gut and making sure my digestive health is at the top of its game.

For more information on probiotic supplements or Renew Life, visit Renew Life Canada on Facebook here. Renew Life products can be found at your local grocery, drug and health food store.

This post was written in collaboration with Renew Life, but all opinions are my own.

MELSAYS PODCAST – EP. 6 – Nicolette Richer

The 6th episode of the MELSAYS PODCAST is now live!

My guest for this episode is Nicolette Richer. She is the co-founder of very popular Green Moustache Organic Café, located in Squamish and Whistler. They’ve just opened up a brand new location in Revelstoke and will be opening up two locations on the North Shore in Vancouver shortly. Watch for their book called “Eat Real to Heal” also coming out later this year. Nicolette also runs Richer Health, which provides health and wellness workshops, retreats and online programs, that help people heal disease by using food as medicine. They have a 3-day retreat coming up in a few days where people will learn how to stop, reverse and heal autoimmune disorders in a very hand-on way. She is also a public speaker and recently gave a TED talk last September. I’m thrilled to have her on the podcast this week.

The podcast is just one click away or you can also listen to it below. If you enjoyed our chat, make sure you subscribe to the MELSAYS PODCAST here -> iTunes and Google Play.

Everything You Need to Know About the OTR Program

The Own the Run (OTR) program is back and better than ever. Whether you’re new to running or a seasoned vet, whether you’re planning to run your first half-marathon in 2018 or a 50k Ultra trail race, the program’s objective is to help local Vancouver runners attain their running goals.

By bringing together the city’s best health and wellness partners and practitioners, the program helps runners work on injury prevention, running efficiency and optimal performance all needed to crush this year’s running goals.

If you’ve been following my running journey these past 2 or so years, you know that I’ve unfortunately been plagued by a few injuries. At first it was my lower back, followed by a stress fracture in my right foot and my latest injury was spraining my left ankle while trail running six weeks ago. But I’m feeling more determined than ever to conquer new distances and set even bigger running goals for myself in 2018. Therefore, I’m extremely excited that an innovative program like OTR is available for runners like myself. My goal is to learn more ways on how to stay injury-free throughout the year and also push myself more than ever before.

This year’s program is a partnership between Myodetox and Vancouver Running Company, Mile 2 Marathon, MOVR plus Kokomo, who are all leaders in their respective wellness communities.

For those interested in partaking in OTR, the program is designed to begin at least 12-14 weeks prior to an upcoming race. The program includes the following:

  • Running Specific Therapy Screen (Duration 60 minutes)*
  • Individualized Exercise Program Development (Duration 60 minutes)*
  • Post Race Massage Therapy Session (Duration 45 minutes)*
  • Exercise Module developed by MOVR app
  • Training Program customized by Mile 2 Marathon (value $100-$200)
  • Full Access to M2M track workouts, and social runs at Vancouver Running Company
  • Membership to Flight Crew Premier 2018 (value $70-100)
  • Option of Nutrition consult at Kokomo
  • Exclusive Technical Running Shirt
  • Ciele Running Cap

All items indicated with an * are actually covered by extended health benefits, so a major plus.

Having access to such quality coaching and support is key to training properly and attaining the running goals that I’ve set out for myself. Furthermore, it’s incredibly inspiring to be surrounded by people who keep pushing the envelop in the health and running community. Excited to see what I can achieve this year!

For more info or to register for Own the Run program, go here.

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.

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.

Finding the Right Mattress For Better Sleep

A good night sleep is one of those simple things in life that I value the most. Growing up, I suffered from insomnia and had a pretty negative relationship with sleep. As I’ve grown older, I’ve found ways to combat my insomnia and one of those ways is making sure I had a mattress that made me excited about going to bed at night.

After almost a year of non-stop travels and not having a place permanent place to rest my head at night, we’ve finally found a place to put down our suitcase for a little while. Having sold all of our furniture before our great adventure, I was on the lookout for a new and comfortable mattress that would fit in our new place.

I first heard of Casper last summer, during one of their sleeping pod tours in Toronto. I had the opportunity to take a mid-day nap in downtown Toronto on one of their Casper mattresses and was immediately interested in the brand. So when came time for me to pick a mattress for our new place in Vancouver, I thought of Casper right away.

One of the things that makes Casper so great is their 100 Night Trial policy, that allows customers like myself, to sleep on their mattress for up to 100 nights and if you aren’t completely satisfied, you can return it for free without any questions asked.

The mattress gets shipped to you for free in just a few days from the time of purchase and arrives in a small box with super clear unpacking instructions. The mattress’ pressure-relieving memory foam is breathable yet also springy, allowing for the most support and comfort. Casper recently added a fourth layer to their mattress after doing further research and after having received precious customer feedback. The mattress’s removable cover allows for easier cleaning and added durability.

The Casper mattress comes with a 10-year warranty and is available in 6 different sizes, so that it can fit pretty much anywhere.

In addition to the mattress, Casper also provides customers with a wide range of other sleeping goods such as pillows, duvets and sheets.

I have yet to reach the 100 nights on my brand new mattress but I’m already convinced I made a great choice. I wake up every morning feeling relaxed, refreshed and ready to take on the day’s adventures!

For more information on Casper, go here.

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

Become a Skin Checker with La Roche-Posay

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This year marks La Roche-Posay’s 3rd edition of Become a Skin Checker campaign, which is designed to help individuals be proactive in detecting melanoma. The beauty brand’s mission is to educate Canadians to help them live a better life and to help prevent and fight skin cancer. As someone who is fair-skinned, freckled and has skin cancer running in their family, I feel compelled to talk about this initiative.

Started this June, the campaign wants to raise awareness for melanoma and other types of skin cancer through early detection via self-examination. Although 90 per cent of skin cancers are curable if detected early, 2 out of 3 Canadians have never had a mole checked by a dermatologist. And I myself, am one of them!

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La Roche-Posay’s Become A Skin Checker initiative can help not only protect your own life but also help friends and family learn more about spotting suspicious moles. The brand recommends 3 easy steps that Canadians can follow in order to save their skin and adopt safe sun habits:

1 – Become A Skin Checker by checking your skin and the skin of loved ones on a regular basis with the ABCDE method. (I will be going in depth on how to use this method in an upcoming post, so stay tuned!)

2 – Protect your skin with broad-spectrum sunscreen such as Anthelios, the #1 recommended suncare by dermatologists in Canada and most advanced in UVA/UVB sun protection.

3 – Play safe in the sun by wearing your UV patch. (I will take the patch out on some of my outdoor adventures and report back in my next post!)

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My UV patch is a cute heart-shaped wearable technology that has been proven to improve safe-sun behaviour and minimize sun burns. It is paired with an intuitive app that monitors sun exposure in real-time. Users can scan their patch using the My UV patch mobile app to determine the UV exposure level. With the help of an algorithm using your personal data (phototype, skin type, location and weather), the app will generate essential information on what behaviours to adopt plus what protection to apply and when. La Roche-Posay will be distributing 20,000 of these UV patches across Canada.

Stay tuned for an upcoming post detailing the process of skin checking and more!

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

Cultivate Wellness

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Mark your calendars! On June 25th, The Habit Project will be organizing an incredible day of wellness in Chilliwack, BC called Cultivate Wellness to raise money for the BC Cancer Foundation’s Workout to Conquer Cancer. If you aren’t familiar with The Habit Project already, they’re a wellness company created by two families that make delicious cold-pressed juices and nut mylks. Danielle and Mariah, took a few minutes out of their busy schedules to share more about what they do at The Habit Project and what people can expect to experience at the Cultivate Wellness retreat in June!

Can you explain what the Cultivate Wellness event is all about? 

Cultivate Wellness is a collaborative wellness mini-retreat benefiting the BC Cancer Foundation’s Workout to Conquer Cancer.  We are so excited to gather participants from Vancouver to Chilliwack to take part in this event. 

What are some of the things that people attending will be able to experience?

Participants will be guided through a series of fitness workshops: featuring boxing with All City Athletics, the Class by Taryn Toomey led by Turf, yoga with Studio B and meditation by Moment Meditation. Our sweaty morning will be complimented by inspirational wellness and nutrition discussions by Mariah Vermeer of The HABIT Project, Kate Horsman and Katrina Vanderveen of Fortify Natural Wellness. Our retreat is designed to educate, inspire and provide space for individuals to take time for themselves and to forge new relationships with like minded community members.  A nutritious brunch will be provided by Faspa and Co, coffee by Jack Coffee and cold-pressed juice by The Habit Project. 

View More: http://yingerdesign.pass.us/cultivate2016

Why was it important for you to put together an event for physical and mental wellbeing? How does that tie into your mission at The Habit Project?

We believe habits are powerful and that everyone has the ability to take small steps in their daily lives to incorporate more balance and wellness habitually.  It is our sincere belief that with a focus on quality, balance and intention, we can all create healthy habits that benefit our day to day lives immensely.

We grew up here in Chilliwack on a small farm where we sold bags of apples on the side of the road.  Our parents instilled in us a passion for agriculture and took the time to show us the importance of eating and cooking with whole, natural foods.  In an era where the art of farming and the understanding of where your food comes from has been lost, we would like to continue this path of education and agricultural awareness.

We feel privileged to have the space to host such an event at our family farm, The Chilliwack Corn Maze.  We met Genieve last year at Cultivate, our long table dinner, and were immediately drawn to her motivation to inspire individuals to holistic living.  From there, Cultivate wellness was envisioned and a dream team came together to put on this amazing event.   

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In addition to being an event, this day is also a fundraiser for Workout to Conquer Cancer, why did you want to work with this organization?

Everyone has been touched by cancer in some way or another.  We can all relate to it’s power over our lives.  We wanted to work with an organization who focused not only on the research but also preventative health.  Work out to Conquer Cancer is a month long movement in pursuit in raising awareness and crucial funds for the BC Cancer foundation.  These funds fuel ground breaking cancer research and care at the provinces 6 BC cancer agency locations.  Funds raised towards Work Out to Conquer Cancer will support research initiatives for all cancer including breast, ovarian, lymphoid to name a few where researchers are making major advancements into early diagnosis treatment and prevention of these diseases.

After we had already chosen to work with Work Out BC, we hired someone at HABIT who we later found out battled cancer for three years.  Katrina Vanderveen is going to speak at our event for the very first time about her experience and journey through this difficult time.  She is strong and extremely inspiring and sure to touch everyone she meets.  She passionate about healthy living and has recently completed her Nutrition certification and ready to help guide others with cancer prevention.  She started Fortify Natural Wellness under which she will provide nutritional consulting for individuals as well as a granola line.  It’s really the best granola you’ve ever had!!!  We just adore, Katrina.

How important is community for what you do at The Habit Project?

Community is a core value of our company.  We want to be more than just a juice company.  We want to inspire people to reach their goals and build each other up along the way.  We hope to create a HABIT community; a group of people passionate about creating healthy habits and a life made better by wellness.  We hope that in enjoying our products people will feel nourished as well as supported on their own wellness journey by a community of people bound together by kindness and strength.

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There are only a few tickets left for the Cultivate Wellness event taking place on June 25th in Chilliwack, BC. All participants will be receiving a free Lululemon yoga mat at the event and have the opportunity to win some amazing raffle prizes. For more info or to get your tickets, go here. Hope to see you there!

Coming Full Circle

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Do you recall transitory moments in your life? Moments when things really changed for you? There have been a lot of transitory moments in my life and a lot of those have occurred during the time I was in Toronto.

A very big moment in my adult life happened over two and a half years ago, when I got back into fitness. I don’t know if it directly coincided with the fact that I had just turned 30, or the inspiration I got from a friend (the beautiful Sosasha!), but it was a big life-changer. It was the moment, when I started being active again. It didn’t really come as a sudden decision but rather was a slow progression from a relatively unhealthy and pretty inactive lifestyle to becoming the person I am today.

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Therefore, it was quite a strange feeling being back in Toronto this past week and visiting some of the many places I had worked out in and also seeing my “fitness family”, the men and especially the women that have supported me on my fitness journey.

Toronto is without a doubt the reason why I am so active today. Though I grew up being SUPER sporty and partaking in all sorts of sports, Toronto gave me a newfound love for leading a healthy lifestyle. The city’s many gyms, trails, parks, fitness studios, etc. as well as trainers and fitness enthusiasts really pushed me to reach new goals and challenge myself in ways I never thought possible. People hustle hard here and also work out really hard.

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While I lived in Toronto for almost 10 years, I battled with some anxiety due to an extremely stressful and toxic work environment, crappy relationships, etc., so I turned to fitness as a way to help me cope with it all. Fitness has helped me so much that I was inspired to obtain my personal training certification in the fall with NASM, in order to be able to help others with their own fitness journeys.

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Coming back to Toronto after being away for more than 8 months this past week, really made things come full circle for me. Not only did I get to refuel by doing some of my favorite workouts in the city, I also got to chat with some of those who inspired me along the way. I’m now leaving my hometown feeling even more inspired to keep moving forward on this fitness journey and can’t wait to see what’s next!

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Photos & hair by: Cabello by Carolina

What I’m wearing: Hyba Solid-Coloured Crop Legging (get it here), Hyba Printed Medium-Impact Sports Bra (get it here).

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