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.
Lyon has really become this past year, a much more vegan-friendly city. There are tons of new restaurants, coffee shops and organic groceries, popping up everywhere around town. Here are some of my favourite spots in the city that are worth the visit if you are plant-based!
1) My Petite Factory – Located on Rue Neuve, right in downtown Lyon, My Petite Factory is heaven for those who follow a plant-based diet. They have the most delicious buddha bowls, sandwiches, soups and homemade desserts all made from scratch and fresh daily. They not only serve vegan options but also gluten-free options, making them a hotspot for not only locals but also tourists.
2) Harvest Cuisine – This pizza joint is new to the city and prides itself in serving farm-to-table style pizzas and pasta. They work with local farmers to get the freshest in-season ingredients. They have a handful of vegetarian options and also the most delicious vegan pizza made with cashew cheese. Harvest Cuisine is definitely revolutionizing conventional pizza making in the area.
3) Moi Pur Jus – One of the newest juice bars and cafes to open up in Lyon this past year. Also located on the presqu’île in downtown, this beautiful café offers a wide variety of cold-pressed juices, chia puddings, snacks and treats that are both vegan and gluten-free. Moi Pur Jus is 100% organic and in addition to offering food and drinks, also offer different health and wellness services.
4) Slake Coffee House – A great spot for breakfast, lunch and also to spend the day working on your laptop. Slake Coffee House is located in the most beautiful antique building that offers a real vintage and warm vibe. They’ve got lots of salads, snacks and warm drinks to choose from. It’s not 100% plant-based but a great place to spend time people watching and catching up on work while in the city!
5) Les Cafetiers – If you don’t mind waiting in line, you’ll want to pay Les Cafetiers a visit. Their minimalist setting and Australian influenced coffee shop (you can even order a Flat White there!) is without a doubt the trendiest coffee shop in the city. They serve up delicious brunch (hello avocado toast!), sweets and drinks and though not everything on the menu is vegan, they’ve got some delicious options to choose from.
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.
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.
Looking for a wellness-filled weekend? May I suggest heading to Victoria, BC?
Victoria is just a quick 30-minute flight away from downtown Vancouver via Harbour Air. Harbour Air is without a doubt the loveliest and most convenient way to travel to the island. With a quick check-in process, a relaxing lounge where you can obtain free coffee, tea and pastries, traveling with this local company always makes you feel VIP. The flight views are also comparable to none. On this most recent trip to Victoria, it had just snowed for the first time this year, allowing for the most stunning views of the islands and surrounding mountains.
Once in Victoria, there is such a wide-variety of things to enjoy for wellness enthusiasts.
Discover some of the most amazing local trails and scenery with Rainforest Tours, a local touring company operated by the lovely Toni Chalk. She is the most insightful and knowledgeable tour guide, who will pack you an amazing lunch and take you on some incredible expeditions. The Mystic Beach hike on the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail is a great way to get introduced to the many kms of trails along the coast.
Another great area for outdoor adventuring is around the Westin Bear Mountain Resort. The resort offers a Hiker’s Reprieve Experience, which combines a guided hike through the Goldstream Provincial Park (where Canada’s mountain bike team trains!) followed by their signature Elements Mountain Massage at the Sante Spa Victoria. The treatment includes a clearing sage smudge, foot scrub and purifying foot bath before getting a full-body massage with B.C. Jade stones and essential oils. Truly the most relaxing and soothing experience. Following the massage, you can use the spa’s facilities – steam room, sauna and mineral pool at your leisure. They also offer snacks, tea and water plus there’s a full food menu to choose from after your treatment.
After all of this adventuring, it’s important to be able to retreat to a calm and quiet place. The Inn at Laurel Point is located right on the waterfront in downtown Victoria. It is the only carbon neutral hotel in British Columbia and one of only a handful across Canada. The hotel has luxurious amenities including beautiful decks for each room, you also have access to their outdoor gardens, fitness room and pool. Their restaurant AURA serves up local and organic dishes. Their hotel rooms are spacious, inviting and beautifully designed. The marble bathroom and soak tub is a perfect spot to relax after a busy day of exploring.
The city of Victoria is one of the best cities in the entire country for healthy eats. They have so much choice when it comes to plant-based restaurants or general healthy eating. Local must-visits include Be Love, Superbaba, JUSU, Rebar, Bliss and Nourish. Nourish has become a recent favourite thanks to the meticulously crafted dishes they serve at brunch, lunch and dinner. It’s impossible to not fall in love with this cute restaurant and café, located in a Victorian house in downtown Victoria.
There are tons of other wellness-inspired things to do in and around Victoria, whether it’s going for tea at the Terroir Tea Salon, going on a bike tour with The Pedaler or simply walking around downtown and in some of their beautiful parks by the waterfront. It’s so incredibly easy to have a wellness-packed weekend while in Victoria. You will go home feeling energized and ready to take on whatever the week throws at you!
A big thank you to Tourism Victoria for setting up this visit. I hope you’ll enjoy the little recap video of my wellness adventures below!
Hiking has become one of my favourite things to do here on the west coast and fall is hands down the prettiest time of year to go out hiking. So I figured I would share my 3 favourite hikes to date in BC to hopefully inspire some of you to also go out and hike around your area this month.
1) Watersprite Lake – This trail is located just off an old loggers road in Squamish. It takes quite a bit of time to access the trailhead by car but is well-worth the drive. Once you get to the trailhead, you’ll go through a variety of terrain. While hiking, you’ll pass over a few creeks, some forested areas, a couple of more rocky and steeper sections but the trail offers some of the most spectacular views of the valley below as well as surrounding mountains. The lake’s colour is unlike anything I had ever seen before. It is surrounded by beautiful rocky mountains that depending on the time of year can even be completely covered in snow. It is a great 17k day hike!
2) Cheakamus Lake – Located just a few minutes from the Whistler Village, this beautiful out and back loop can span either 6k, 12k or even 14k. It is a relatively flat trail that takes you into different forest settings, along the lake and right at the base of some of the most beautiful local mountains. It is the prettiest in the fall because of all of the fall colours that surround you throughout the hike. If you’re game, there are also a few camping spots along the trail right by the waterfront.
3) Garibaldi Lake – The trail can easily be accessed via Highway 99 between Squamish and Whistler. The trailhead starts right from the parking lot. This 18k out and back trail leads you to the turquoise-coloured Garibaldi Lake that is nestled between the most beautiful alpine scenery and glacier mountains. It is definitely a must if you’re new to the area like myself. It is a lengthy climb for the first couple of kms, but that just means the way back is that much easier. On your way up, you’ll cross a few other lakes, trailheads and make your way through a beautiful Douglas Fir tree forest. The trail is easily marked and well maintained making the trek up the easiest possible. Seeing the lake for the first time left me absolutely speechless!
Got any hike suggestions? Send them my way. I want to get out as much as possible before the end of the year!
Planning a trip to LA soon and want to stay active while in the area? I share some of my favourite local workouts that will keep you sweating while on the go!
1) Barry’s Bootcamp – There are now 3 Barry’s Bootcamp located across the greater Los Angeles area. They offer a variety of classes, ranging from full-body workouts to leg or arm specific-classes. Half of the workout happens on the treadmill and the other half will have you working on different muscle groups from the floor with free weight and bodyweight exercises. Their easy circuit keeps you on your toes the entire hour. Their post-workout smoothie bar is also a great post-workout treat.
2) Flywheel – Their latest LA location just opened up a few months ago in downtown Santa Monica. Unlike other spin studios, the Flywheel studio is set up like an auditorium and the workout is based on RPMs and TORQ. The instructor will give riders suggestions of where they would like them to be during each song. There are two tv monitors at the front of the class that will show riders how they’re doing throughout the class (if they choose to register a profile) and will also throw in a few 30-second challenges throughout the class. Always one of the hardest spin classes.
3) Playlist Yoga – Located in West Hollywood, this small yoga studio revolves around creating the perfect hip hop and pop playlist for a Vinyasa Flow. Playlist Yoga is a candle lit yoga practice that includes lots of planks, downward dogs and warrior poses that will get you sweating. Though there are no showers or many amenities provided in the studio, each locker and studio quote was carefully curated to match the studio’s hip hop aesthetic.
4) BoxUnion – Also located in Santa Monica, BoxUnion is a trendy boxing studio offers boxing enthusiasts or the curious seeking a new fitness experience, the chance to glove up and throw a few 1-2 punch combos. Think of it like SoulCycle but for boxing, as in working out to the beat of the music. The 45-minute class is a great workout for cardio because it involves lots of dynamic body movements and +2000 punches per class.
5) SpeedPlay – One of the most talked about workout spots in downtown LA that boasts incredible city line views from their rooftop studio. SpeedPlay offers a variety of 45 or 60-minute workouts, some also include a special strength, glutes or ab portion. They incorporate running, rowing and a floor workout to create a great full-body workout. Watch for their second location opening up in West Hollywood soon!
Staying active while on the road is easy. All it takes is just a little extra planning ahead and organization. Over the last little while I’ve come up with a simple formula and a few simple tips that can help you also keep moving while you’re on the go.
1) Whenever I know I have a trip coming up, I always make some time either the night before I leave or even at the airport the morning of (because we all know we spend lots of time doing nothing at the airport), to look up local running routes in advance that are close to where I’ll be traveling to and evening staying. I will then map out a few different runs or at least some key points of interests that I want to visit while I’m running and make a quick list on my phone. I sometimes even record the actual route itself on my phone via one of my running apps so that I am ready to go when I arrive.
2) I always pack my Reebok Floatride Run shoes with me so that I can easily take them out of my suitcase when I get to my hotel room or Airbnb. After a long flight or long day of travel, I’ll usually go for a run immediately when I get to my new destination. The Reebok Floatride Run shoe is cushioning without compromise, it is soft and also responsive, making me feel like I’m floating through my runs. The new shoe comes in new colour options and combines performance and aesthetic all into one.
3) I try to find unique local run clubs or even fitness studios to book some drop-in classes. I make sure to mark off some time in my schedule, even if it’s just 30 minutes to work out and also meet new people. Traveling gives you access to different workouts you may not even have at home as well as a whole new crew of people to meet, which is awesome!
4) If I don’t have the chance to make it out anywhere, I will use the environment around me; so either the gym in my hotel, my hotel room or even a nearby park to get a little workout or some drills in. It’s easy to just take your phone with you and either write down a few exercises or follow a video or an app.
5) If I know I’ll be traveling with friends or going to see family, I try to get them to take me out for a run or organize a little workout together. It makes it that much more of a fun experience for everyone and great memories to share while on the road.
Running and being active has become my first priority while traveling and as a result I’ve seen so many benefits in both my overall mood, stress levels and well-being while away from home. Therefore, I highly recommend giving these tips a try!
The Reebok Floatride Run shoe is available exclusively at Running Room and Reebok.ca.
This article was written in collaboration with Reebok but all opinions are my own.
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!
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?
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 Flavoursupplies 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 15kin 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