The Health & Wellness Puzzle

Hi Friends! Happy Friday!


Feeling like this particular Friday needs some FRIDAY FEELS

I want to discuss what seems to be a booming debate right now – who does wellness best?! I honestly and truly believe that holistic practices are the future of health and the best and most achievable way to have balance (and I recognize my bias towards  that but regardless I do believe it is the future!).  That is the fundamental component of holistic nutrition (my own area of expertise): balance.  Not about calorie counting, balance.  Not just a balance with diet or fats and proteins and carbs (although important), but a complete harmony of your physical and non-physical beings.  Do you eat a perfectly paleo diet and have six pack abs but are so mentally stressed out and cranky all the time that you can barely focus? Not balanced.  Do you eat terribly but go to the gym and work out like a crazy person 7 days a week? Not balanced.  Etc etc to the endless amounts of examples there are for people that aren’t spiritually and physically balanced.  That is holistic.

Now, enters the world of medical professionals including doctors, dieticians etc.  Not to generalize by any means because there are a great number of professionals who are open to learning about and even including holistic practices within their ‘belief systems’.  That said, there are also a large number of professionals in this world looking to squash people like me like a bug.  Or as Jim Carey would say “I’m the little ant and you’re the big kid with the magnifying glass that wants to burn off my feelers, and watch me squirm!” Why? Why does it have to be one or the other?  The pure definition of holistic medicine: “characterized by the treatment of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just the physical symptoms of a disease.”

We’re in a state of change right now in a lot of ways and you can not only see the shift happening but be an active participant.  People are starting to take wellness from all aspects very seriously and that’s amazing!! As many people hate the arguments like “vaccination vs non-vaccination” they are ground-breaking because at least those conversations are facilitated now and people are actually critically thinking about their health, what they put in their bodies and the effect that has on their wellness! What we’re experiencing right now are growing pains and shifts in practices, thought processes and opinions and that’s amazing – if we aren’t changing we aren’t growing!

I’m not saying that I have the education or experience of a medical professional (which perhaps is where some of the tension stems from).  All I’m saying is that it’s near impossible for one person, professional, expert etc. to be able to single handedly provide an entirely holistic form of care – so why not work together.  Accepting weaknesses and flaws while simultaneously embracing strengths is a beautiful thing and THAT is providing the greatest care to someone – understanding that your participation in the care of a person’s wellness is a puzzle piece, not the picture on the box.

That’s my vent sesh to end this week!! Happy FRIDAY friends have a wonderful weekend filled with happiness and magic!


My TV Breakup

I broke up with my TV.  We’re no longer on speaking terms before 8PM daily and it wasn’t mutual at all…. TV is having a really hard time with it and keeps screaming at me and reminding me that Netflix and all other varieties of instant entertainment exist.  You know that breakup…. when you’re trying to just be over it but they won’t stop calling you…. that’s what this is like.  Except they live in your house.

OK that’s enough melodramatic sentiments for one day.  Today is day 2 of my TV breakup… also day 2 towards achieving my goal of reading a book a month.  This has been a lot harder than I anticipated (or wanted to admit to myself).  I feel like an addict that forgot what to do with spare time… what do you do with all of that time between activities?! When you get home from work what do you do to relax and unwind?  See here’s the thing that made me want to do this little challenge: I have a desk job. THERE I SAID IT.  I’m sorry but there is very little that is mentally stimulating about sitting at a desk sending emails all day and making sure to not be late to meetings (basically those times when you move from sitting at your desk to sitting elsewhere while others mostly talk at you for a decided upon length of time).  Therefore, I have no reason to need to unwind because if you did a scan of my brain activity during the day it would look a lot like this:


But here’s the thing is that when you have your brain on auto-pilot all day it is REALLY DIFFICULT to stop doing that and TV is such an enabler.  But I am determined to win this battle…

So, long (dramatic) story short here is what I’ve learned so far from breaking up with the TV:

  1. I have an addiction and a problem (that’s always step 1 right?..)
  2. Turns out while I was under the impression that I didn’t have a lot of time to do things that were enjoyable in a day… I was wrong.  I was just filling said time with TV and I don’t know about anyone else but 10 minutes turns to 7 hours real damn quick when you’re binge watching something.  Especially once that magical feature was created where it just keeps playing… and keeps playing… and never stops until you’ve watched 10 straight seasons and forget what day of the week it is.  Was it daylight when I started watching this?… or night time?… or yesterday?… I can’t remember.
  3. I have a lot of thoughts. That sounds ridiculous I’m very aware, but it’s true! It’s shocking how well the TV actually tunes out your own thoughts and you just essentially have a whole lot of this going on in your own head:


That’s all for today friends… stay tuned (HA! pun intended).

Oh, also this is the book I’m reading this month:81ZjagjIv0L

What better way to kick a habit than to read a book about understanding habits! BRILLIANT! (I know.. that’s what I thought too in all of my free thinking time…)






Happy Wednesday!!


Habit Breaking vs Goal Setting

Hi friends!
So it’s been a hot second or 12 but this is the year.  This is 2016.  This is the year that all the things change (goodness don’t I just sound like EVERYONE ever making new years resolutions?!).  I, like many, have been a victim to making New Years resolutions and not sticking to them.  It’s very interesting to me because I am an extremely goal oriented person… maybe I just get bored or the idea of sticking to something for an entire year is shockingly intimidating and makes the goal seem almost unachievable?  Long story short… I’m intrigued enough to test myself.

Over the course of time I’ve gotten pretty good at looking at myself, my life and my decisions objectively and I think this would be a very good opportunity to understand habits & goals a little better.  As a nutritionist a large quantity of what I do is help people to break habits that are maybe causing destruction to their health & wellness.  Being a nutritionist is less about telling people what to eat and not to eat and much more about assisting the individual with eliminating barriers that are maybe resulting in poor decision making when it comes to their personal health.

Like anyone I have habits I’d love to kick and goals I’d love to achieve too! So, I’m basically going to select one habit to break & one goal to achieve and monitor my progress.  I think it will be very helpful to be able to go through the journey of having a habit through to hopefully breaking and watching that compared with selecting a goal and trying to achieve it.  I may fail – but I kind of like that.  To me things seem way more exciting and engaging when there is the possibility of failure.  A few things I’m interested to find out:

What quantifies as a habit being completely broken? Is it ever truly broken or does it require constant maintenance? What quantifies as a goal being achieved?

How long does it take to feel as though my habits have been completely broken?

Is breaking a habit an all or nothing thing? How far do “slip-ups” set you back towards the goal?

Will there be a difference between my success in breaking a habit vs. achieving a goal?  To me they’re different – but are they actually??

It’ll be an interesting journey and I’m excited to see how it goes!

Habit – Watch less TV!

I have a tendency to throw the TV on when I’m cooking or doing anything just to have background noise – I blame Netflix.  I think that this is too much of a distraction method that requires basically zero brain power and goodness I am trying to combat the epidemic that is “auto-pilot brain”. Figure this is as good a time as any to test the whole “no TV before 8PM on school nights” method.  Though I’m not in school anymore…I’m mentally close enough to an elementary school age child so let’s give er’ a whirl!

Goal – Read 1 book per month (minimum)

I wanted to select a goal that complimented the habit I want to break.  I feel as though this will enhance the likelihood for success & compliance – or at least that’s my projected psycho-analysis of myself! I’ll try to give mini blog book reports once a month to keep myself accountable. My grade 4 teacher would be so proud.

I’ll be blogging at least 1 time per week to document success (or failure) – hopefully more because blogging is also something that has been a bit of weakness for me but ONE STEP AT A TIME HOLLIE!


The journey & other metaphors

Why are you Afraid of Change? Make changes, move strides | Happy Food Healthy Life

Well friends, I am safely, completely and FINALLY settled into our new home in the STUNNING British Columbia 🙂

I got to thinking this morning that I have come a long way and sometimes you learn valuable lessons that you feel need to be shared so that maybe others can learn and benefit from those lessons as well!

If I’m starting at the beginning, I grew up in a decently small city (or at least it felt small to me) and never left.  I was the epitome of a home town girl that was on a distinct life path to get married, have babies and settle deep into the woodwork of that city.  I was a very happy girl but …. something was wrong.  I can’t even now say what exactly it was but the best way I can describe it is that my soul was uncomfortable.  My soul was uncomfortable with the life decisions I was making and where my life path was taking me – not unhappy but definitely unsatisfied.  I was a safe person.  I didn’t take big risks or leaps of faith very often I was calculated and planned (sometimes WAY too excessively).

What to do when you feel weird and don’t know how to explain your emotion?  Search the internet for other people that feel weird and direction-less obviously! I read all those “being twenty-something” lists on how to do whatever you want, drink the kool-aid BLABLABLA and those just weren’t cutting it for me…. I felt like I was trying to suppress my life potential so much that it was like jamming an elephant into a matchbox so I could push it under the bed and hopefully forget about it someday so I didn’t feel the sting of regret later in life.  That regret that everyone talks about (or at least post so many articles on Facebook that it makes me gag on the potential for regret). Side note: does anyone else find it darkly ironic that everyone talks about “NO REGRETS” and live the life you love and pursue your passion all that jazz and how many people NEVER DO?!   That was the regret that kept me up at night, that gave me nightmares, that “what could have been” …. it terrified me to no end.

Then. Something magical happened. 

Oprah’s famous “aha moment” punched me in the face.  If I was so deeply afraid of having no regrets…. why was I accepting a life that almost guaranteed to provide that result?  If I so profoundly craved change – why was I accepting the opposite?  So – the only logical solution (at least for us) was to do something drastic.  Something that would shake everything up and either be the best thing we ever did, or the biggest mistake and we didn’t care which.  We wanted LIFE.  This resulted in packing everything we had ever owned – putting it all in a metal trailer and driving it all the way across this mind bogglingly gorgeous country we live in to settle in the most spectacular and magical place I have ever been.

Now – many people do this, it’s not a unique story.  Whether or not it’s unique, I believe there are several life lessons that really need to be explained and understood for this to actually be a successful life change.  They may not be for everyone but they are what has made this whole adventure the greatest thing I could ever have done.

  • Learn to appreciate the unfamiliar. This was a very interesting concept for me to wrap my head around.  I had grown up, lived, gone to school & had my entire life in one place.  I had no clue what unfamiliar meant until we got here.  When you have no idea where anything is or who anyone is – there is a profound human reaction that I think usually manifests as home sickness.  I was one of the lucky ones and I left home with my best friend and fiance so I can’t say I ever had that blow when all the dust settled of being completely by myself – but what we experienced was pretty close.  This is something that needs to be embraced not feared!  How often can you say you had a completely brand new human experience, an emotion and a feeling you had NEVER felt before in your whole life?! It’s damn exhilarating! That’s my first life lesson that I can pass on from my experience is embrace and love the unfamiliar because it is so pure and real it will enhance you as a person I guarantee it.
  • Disconnect. I mean this metaphorically and literally.  I don’t! mean stop talking to your family and all your friends and go live in the wilderness alone.  I do, however, mean that if your goal is to create a new life in a different place then you need to cut the cord with your old life.  You need to have your moment to appreciate and love and adore what that chapter of your life has given you and mentally push that boat off the dock and say goodbye.  It is not humanly possible to live two lives it doesn’t work that way.  If you want a life to work in a new place you can’t be still mentally and emotionally living the life you left.

All of this said, my new journey has just begun.  I still know I have immense potential that will be shared with the world when it’s time.  Sometimes you need to do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do & I truly believe that.

I don’t think everyone needs a drastic change like we did.  Not everyone needs that big of a kick in the head – but we did and it showed us the most wonderful place and opened the door to the future we crave and that’s priceless.

If there is one thing that anyone takes away from this it’s a life living in a box is overrated. That doesn’t mean you need to move across a country but it does mean that passion and bliss are REAL THINGS and they should be pursued harder than anything else you can ever imagine.

“It all begins and ends in your mind.  What you give power to, has power over you, if you allow it” 

The Final Frontier


Now that the long weekend has come to an end, finally have the opportunity to write the final chapter on my cleaning-eating 10 day detox. While it’s not climbing Everest or conquering a fear that’s haunted me since I was a child, the detox was a challenge for one simple reason… It was change. I’m not one who fears change per say, but rather view it as not necessary for many of the things I do on a daily basis. This thought process is dreadfully flawed. Changing one’s self is an opportunity for self-improvement and improving is something we can all do. When we do it well it gives us the feeling of satisfaction, which for those of you who haven’t experienced it is the most amazing feeling.


Eating healthy for 10 days didn’t change my world but it gave a necessity of life purpose beyond its ability to offer sustenance. To me, actually caring about what I was putting into my body became so enlightening and satisfying that I find it carrying over into all the other elements of my life which I find is a far greater reward than just cleaning out my liver and kidneys. That’s for another time, though. Let’s focus on why I’m writing this…


Here are my takeaways from the last 10 days:


Overall Improvement in Physical Well-Being

I deal with a lot of shoulder problems stemming from an old playground injury that I never took seriously. Sitting at a desk, performing physical activities all prove to offer some level of discomfort but it’s been almost non-existent for 6 days now. A small increase in quality of life, sure… but for those who deal with discomfort daily it’s monumental and carries significant value into all aspects of one’s life.


Higher Level of Engagement/Satisfaction

As a child, I was always told that I should work hard at the jobs I didn’t want to do, because it would make me appreciate the job that I wanted that much more when I finally reached that point in my life. Conceptually, this is nearly identical. By actually investing myself into a necessity such as eating, I’m already finding myself more engaged in all other areas of my life and seeking to improve them as well. After all, satisfaction is ridiculously addictive.


Fiscal Responsibility

We so often as a society are complaining about money in some way, shape or form. I mean, it does make the world go round and all that jazz. What I’m getting at here is I come from a mind-set that wants to make money (like everyone else), but I’m also a firm believer of the following: Life isn’t about how much you make, it’s about how much you profit. Sure, this is meant to be a metaphor for a higher level of wealth beyond money but let’s monetize it for a moment. For 10 days, I spent no unplanned money. No coffee at Tim’s, or lunch at Subway. No lazy nights at home where I settle for a trip to a Jack Astor’s. In short, I’d ballpark my 10 day savings at nearly $100.00 on recreational food expenses. In all, my overhead was high on this project, given my early expectations, but once you break down the per meal cost beyond the basics of the program it’s mind boggling how little disparity exists between the two eating styles.


Can be for everyone

As I previously mentioned, this program did cost more than I anticipated. However, you can still be conscious of what you eat and do so on a budget. If you remove the depth of the menu and break it down to a unique dinner and repeat your breakfasts and lunches, it becomes very manageable. Again, I don’t have the hard numbers, but I’d ballpark with dedication and refinement I could save between 20 and 30 dollars/week over the cost of traditional groceries. It’s truly a tradeoff. If you’ve got the time, it’s worthwhile, if not it might be a better idea to find a happy median because of the other benefits.


Finally, I’d just like to extend a big thank you to both Hollie for the enlightenment and opportunity and to Ivana for the dedication in making sure we saw this thing through.


I (Hollie) would also like to thank Ben for his wonderfully honest and humorous blogging over the course of the 10 days! It was awesome to have honest and virtually real-time updates of what the detox is really like and I couldn’t thank him enough! 🙂

Weekends Are For The Warriors

saturday everyday

It’s Monday… My body has now been dragged through the battlefield of a detox weekend. In short, it’s the worst. Weekends are a time for eating out, drinking beer, snacking on ice cream amongst many other great things. My weekend consisted of none of these.


Am I discouraged? Surprisingly not. Our weekend meals were quite delicious and with the exception of some pan-fried falafel, easy to prepare. The recipes also allowed called for extra to be made so when it’s all added up we’re left with very little prep work the rest of the way, save a few dinners and a breakfast. For me this is very encouraging as what was once a very intimidating process (planning our meals) has now become second nature. Is this a well running machine? I wouldn’t go that far, but it’s certainly a work in progress that is running much smoother than before.


Going back to the falafel, this has been my biggest qualm with the project since its beginning. For those who are underprivileged in the kitchen, these recipes can be overwhelming. You’re using un-conventional goods in un-conventional ways sometimes. Come dinner time on Saturday, a change was being made as we hadn’t gotten our organic pasta sauce yet. I made the game-time decision to drop the pasta and ride into dinner with the “pan-fried falafel”. Without getting into the details, 2 hours later I was left with 9 little piles of… … … crap. I’m not sure what happened, but I felt nauseous at the end of it. Nauseous to the point that Dancing with the Stars seemed like a great escape to the pain that falafel just caused me and I’ll say this… My god can Meryl Davis move. Such a babe.


Physically and mentally, I’m feeling much sharper. Even after a week, I feel like I need less sleep and can be more productive at work. Honestly, my “give a f*ck” is through the roof. Another small victory is this; the ware and tare in my shoulder usually causes me a great amount of discomfort and generally never goes away has actually subsided quite a bit these past few days. Ivana had mentioned noticing the same with her shoulder and had mentioned a gluten-free diet can help reduce the effects of some of these lingering injuries. To quote another one of my friends “that’s pretty neat”.


I expect smooth sailing from here on out and with the exception of being tempted by some birthday cake tonight at a family function, shouldn’t have any other possible setbacks the rest of the way. Check back for the final part of my series on Thursday when I review my experiences as a member of #TEAMKISS.