Better than Botox: 10 Hacks for Younger-Looking Skin

Beauty Skin Care

Maybe I’m writing this because my birthday is today. As each year goes by, I notice more and more fine lines on my forehead and grey in my hair. I also swore I would NEVER get botox, but I’ve caught myself staring into the mirror on more than a couple (or a hundred) occasions, physically pulling the skin on my face taut in order to see what I’d look like if I did have it done.

And not that this is even related to this post, but WHY do men only get better looking as they age? (Grey hair? Wrinkles? No problem–it’s hot!) Wtf?! Ugh.

Aging skin can be depressing, but here are 10 hacks that can make a massive difference to the youthfulness of your body’s largest organ, sans chemical peels, injections, and/or other invasive procedures:

Cucumber Water

  • Drink a TON of water. It goes without saying that hydrated skin is happy skin. It’s able to detox better, and people who stay hydrated experience less acne and dry skin.
  • Limit alcohol. Because it’s dehydrating. See how that works? Alcohol starves your skin of oxygen, and makes your face appear swollen and unhealthy the day after a bender. Consistent use can make your skin grey and listless, and enhance the appearance of wrinkles, tiny blood vessels, and permanently ruddy-looking cheeks.
  • Exfoliate your face twice a week. This is to remove dead skin cells, which is important for proper skin regeneration. If old cells don’t get whisked away, new ones are produced more slowly and then tend to build up under the old ones, which causes acne and a dull appearance.
  • Steam once a week. Your skin loves this! It forces the detoxification process, and results in healthier, glowing skin.
  • Use cold gel masks. This hack reduces swelling and tightens pores. You can also use cold cucumber and tea bags on the eyes for 4-5 minutes—it reduces puffiness in all the right places.
  • Don’t get sunburnt. Sunburnt skin is damaged skin, and damaged skin looks like crap. Just sayin’. I hate promoting sunscreen, because there can be a lot of crazy shit in there, so I’m just to advise against getting burnt, instead.

Beet Juice

  • Eat (or drink) your vegetables. Vegetables contain water, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that your skin loves. They also encourage waste removal via the colon, which keeps the entire body healthy, including your skin.
  • Make use of herbs that contain silica. Horsetail, rosemary, sage, and yarrow are all amazing herbs for your hair, skin, and nails. You can take them in capsule form, or make your own tea from them.
  • SWEAT regularly. Again, sweating (via regular exercise) encourages the detoxification process, which leads to healthy, younger-looking skin. It also increases circulation, and gives your face that healthy glow that fit people generally have.
  • Get lots of sleep. This is more important that most people realize, but it’s easier said than done. Your body repairs and reboots when you sleep, and adequate sleep is vital to your health. Because stress and other factors may impede great zzz’s, it’s imperative to prioritize de-stressing and hitting the hay for at least 8 hours a night. Reading, meditation, and sex all help to power your brain down before you close your eyes.

So there you have it—hack away to younger-looking skin in no time. Happy Meatless Monday! xo

5 Common Triggers of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)


Happy Saturday, everyone! Today’s post was inspired by a series of realizations I’ve had oven the course of the last year or so. For those of you who don’t know this about me, I used to struggle with awful IBS symptoms that impeded my life every single day. This gut-wrenching story (see what I did there?!) has a happy ending, though. I managed to figure out the sources of my discomfort, and reap the rewards that come with a calm, happy, healthy gut.

BUT…everyone who has ever suffered from a chronic health issue, knows that from time to time, there are circumstances that cause these types of conditions to rear their ugly heads.

Here are, in my opinion, the top five offenders that just LOVE to make my bowel (and perhaps yours) irritable:

Yoga for stress

  • Stress. This is seriously the number one cause of any IBS flare-up I experience, nowadays. I can eat as clean and regularly as I want, and exercise, and sleep well, but your brain doesn’t care. If you’re stressed, IBS becomes more imminent. Some ways to relieve stress, include meditation, yoga, conscious breathing, and exercise.


  • Dairy. This “does a body good” mammal secretion (I write with pure loathing) does not do anybody good. It sucks. It’s for calves, not for adult humans. Dairy acidifies our bodies and clogs up our bowels. It sparks spontaneous allergies, and is loaded with fat and sugar. If you have IBS, please refrain.

pink slime

  • Meat and processed food. Both of these foodstuffs are so chalk full of crap that our bodies silently scream in protest, but we don’t pay attention. Unless you have IBS, and then you’re pretty much forced to. In addition to this, meat is also full of saturated fat, and acidifies our bodies like dairy. (That’s “pink slime” above, if you were wondering. You should totally Google it.)

Working Out

  • Stagnancy. That is, not exercising. Everyone needs to move their bodies every day in order for vital bodily processes to occur. (Circulation, digestion, proper respiration, muscle building, calorie burning, etc.) When you don’t move, it throws your entire body out of whack, and when you have IBS, your digestive system is beyond touchy. It’s one sensitive son of a bitch, and I can assure you, it’s in your best interest to keep it happy.

Lack of sleep

  • Lack of sleep. This might be related to stress, but lack of sleep is my worst nightmare. (Irony—and pun—intended.) In order to sleep very, very well, I would definitely advise you to take everything I’ve written above to heart. You sleep better when your stress level is down, you’re eating good, clean, whole food, and exercising your body on a regular basis.

Here’s a summary:

Stress, animal products, processed food, lack of exercise, and inadequate sleep are all BAD for IBS.

Reduced stress, whole food, lots of vegetables and water, daily exercise, and great sleep are all GOOD for IBS. 

Happy Healthy Gut

It’s all about the routine, and the lifestyle you choose to implement for yourself, but I can assure you, IBS can be tamed. For a full 272 pages on EXACTLY how this is possible, check out Happy Healthy Gut. For a recipe book full of delicious, tummy-taming concoctions, check out Vegetarian Comfort Foods.

Vegetarian Comfort Foods

Have a great rest of your weekend! xo

5 Signs of Good Health: what “healthy” truly looks like

Healthy woman

The definition of “healthy” is different for many of us. Some people believe health is what is attained once you’ve cut out carbs, and others feel that they’re healthy if they’re abstaining from processed sugar. But health is a broad term. Are you healthy if you aren’t currently diagnosed with a chronic disease? Does veganism equal health?

What exactly does is mean to be truly healthy?

Happy children sitting on green grass outdoors in summer park

The following points are what I’ve come up with, both during my own observations and experiences, as well as asking others this question. Here are what I consider to be five signs that you are really healthy:

  1. You consistently get 7-8 hours of sleep every night, and wake up feeling refreshed. Great, consistent sleep is a fabulous indicator of good health. It means your body is regulated, your cortisol levels and core body temperature are normal, and you have the ability to let your mind rest peacefully, which indicates low stress. If you can achieve amazing sleep, congratulations! If you fall into the category of those who can’t sleep, I can assure you, I’ve definitely been there. For me, there are 3 things that I’ve identified as being culprits here: alcohol consumption (if I have more than one glass of wine, sleep is up in the air), stress (overthinking things), and excitement (not calming down enough for your body to rest). Other things that can lead to bad sleep include eating right before bed (your body will buzz with the energy t takes to digest that snack), sleeping in a warm room, and too much light.
  2. You have energy throughout the entire day. No 3pm slump for you! How does one obtain this? Aside from having a decent sleep, it’s with food. Good food. Food that contains proper energy sources and the correct balance of nutrients to assist your body in lasting happily throughout the entire day. Real food—not a chocolate bar. A good tip: eat a light, healthy lunch (lettuce wraps or salad with wild salmon), and then grab a snack around 3 o’clock. A smoothie, homemade granola bar, or boiled egg with salsa and avocado are great examples.
  3. You’re moving your bowels in a healthy way at least once a day. Now, when I specify “healthy” here, I mean that your movements are effortless, quick, significant, and normal-looking. (Not loose.) If you’re feeling empty after visiting the washroom, that’s good. To achieve better bowel movements, try tracking how much insoluble fibre you ingest (you need this to sweep your colon clean), and make sure you’re drinking enough water. Foods that can make BMs subpar are dairy, too much heavy meat, heavy breads (especially if you’re sensitive to wheat or gluten), and too much sugar. For more information on how to obtain better digestive health, check out Happy Healthy Gut.
  4. Your skin is clear, and your hair and nails look good. Your skin is your largest organ, and what it looks like says a lot about your health. Same goes for your hair and nails. Dry, brittle nails and hair can signify dehydration, and peeling problems can represent vitamin deficiencies. For better skin, hair, and nails, try drinking more water and eating more vegetables. Cut down on processed sugar, and begin to look at your food as fuel for your body.
  5. You’re happy. Honestly, consistently, truly happy. Happiness is directly correlated with good health, and people who can honestly call themselves happy are typically healthy, too. The mind and body are completely connected, and a clear, calm mind will usually be accompanied by a healthy body. To achieve better happiness, try and make a list of everything that is in your life that makes you upset and stressed out. Either let it go (meaning get out of that unhappy relationship or find a better job), or make clear strides to improve the situation. Do it NOW—don’t wait.

Beautiful healthy Young Woman lying on the green grass

What I am trying to get at it this: you don’t have to weigh 120 pounds or love the Paleo diet or declare veganism as your new diet of choice to be healthy. Health is a complicated thing, but the points above will hopefully lead you in the right direction.


Sleeping Like a Baby: Not what it’s cracked up to be

Sleepy young woman in bed extending hand to alarm clock at home

The old adage “slept like a baby” always confused me. Is this phrase only used by people with no children? Because if you have kids, you must know that babies don’t sleep.

(Well, only in inconvenient times. Never when you want them to. )

I’ve been having trouble with staying asleep lately, and by “lately,” I mean the last year or so. I’ve kind of turned into a total insomniac, actually. I have no problem falling asleep, but I never seem to get into that deep sleep that everyone raves about. In fact, I’m exhausted just typing this. *Yawn…

My five-year-old daughter still wakes me up almost every night to chat or climb into my bed, or just relay some fun fact about yesterday’s goings-on (yesterday she saw an eagle, because that’s what you think about at 2am). She’s one of the reasons my sleep is so interrupted, but it’s interrupted even if she’s not there to wake me up.

I’ve tried things like Melatonin (gave me a crazy sleep hangover), taking warm baths before bed, making sure my bedroom is dark and cool. I’ve tried not eating before bed, not drinking caffeine after noon, and exercising regularly. I’ve tried stretching, meditation, and more. These are all normal suggestions for anyone suffering with sleep issues.

But here are some more, and these make up my latest list of things to try. (I’ll keep you posted.)

  • More magnesium. Up to 80% of North Americans are magnesium deficient[1], and this is directly related to sleep problems. (Fun fact: people with digestive issues often don’t absorb as much magnesium as they need to.) Juicing greens, and eating a varied whole food, plant-based diet can help greatly. Since I already do those things, I’m going to begin taking a supplement just to be sure. I also have a laboratory requisition to fill that will measure my magnesium and Vitamin D levels. Which brings me to:
  • Increased Vitamin D. This “vitamin” is actually a hormone, and is totally correlated with sleep. If you’re deficient (like most North Americans), it can lead to insomnia. You get Vitamin D from the sunshine and green leafy veggies, but you can also buy it in supplement form.
  • Going to bed later. You heard me: later. I’m so tired by nine that I usually crash a half-hour later. But if I’m planning on sleeping until 7am, I really should try and push my adolescent bedtime back to 10:30ish. I don’t need 10 hours of sleep—just better quality sleep.
  • Putting the kybosh on alcohol. (God, I love that word. Kybosh, not alcohol.) Alcohol, despite what people may think, is both a stimulant and a depressant.[2] It may make you feel sleepy, but it also increases your heart rate. This speedy effect makes it very hard for your body to regulate itself into a good sleep. So, bye-bye wine. (Yes, I’m THIS desperate for sleep.)
  • Cutting back on screen time. I’m an iPhone, iPad, laptop junkie. Apple loves me. But all that screen time can have a negative effect on sleep, because it suppresses melatonin.

For more tips on how to sleep better, visit HERE. In the meantime, let me know if you have any suggestions. 🙂




5 Reasons Why Yoga Needs to Be in My Life (and probably yours, too)

Yoga in the park

So…I’ve been busy lately, and something had to give. Fascinatingly, I chose yoga, and not, say, seasons 1 and 2 of Damages.

Hmm….that was an interestingly BAD decision, and here’s why:

1-      My inflexible body became, seemingly overnight, much less flexible. I didn’t really think it could get any worse, but I surprised myself with my never-ending saga of stiffness. Yoga is so, so ,so necessary for good flexibility, which in turn is great for not getting hurt during more intensive workouts. Which brings me to:

2-      I started getting hurt during more intensive workouts. Within about 4 weeks of no yoga, I hurt my right shoulder and my right knee, which put me out of commission when it comes to flies and lunges. (Which, coincidentally, are some of my favorite things to do.) Ugh…

3-      I started sleeping like a baby. This may seem great, but think about it: babies SUCK at sleeping. Am I right?! I started to wake up in the middle of the night, and stay awake for hours. (Baby.) I’m talking horrific ordeals like sleeping 10-12, then 5-7. Or going to bed at 9, and not even falling asleep until 3! Wtf?!

4-      My mind would not shut off. I need a literal off-switch. My husband needs to be able to lean over, flip a switch that resembles a colourful board-game piece, and watch me just shut down on the spot. Since I don’t have one of those, I need to be able to power down naturally. Which I cannot seems to do without yoga! Grrr…frustrating! (If anyone knows where I can obtain one of these switches, please let me know.)

5-      I become oblivious. Yoga grounds me and forces me to become more observant of my external environment. Without it, I crawl into myself and only emerge when forced to. Needless to say, not good, and probably very annoying for my friends and family. (Sorry.)

So there it is: I need yoga to make me a healthier, happier, more awake, generally-better person. I wonder if it has the same effect on everyone…maybe some of you could leave me a comment?

Happy Sunday!

Digestive Karma Part Deux


What goes around comes around. This is the principle of Karma. Put out into the universe what you would like to receive back, right? Well, the same goes for digestion. If you eat nutrient-void, crappy food, your digestive system will make you pay. If you eat mindfully and consume light, nutrient-dense foods, your body will reward you.

Digestive Karma.

What you put in affects what you get out. It also affects your body’s ability to cope with stress (whether it be nutritional, physical, or psychological), whether your brain can process and comprehend clearly, your ability to fight disease and illness, and more.

What are you waiting for? Tweak your diet to reflect your hopes and dreams for a healthy, beautiful existence.


The Art of Slowing Down

This is the time of year when everyone seems to be on fast-forward. In fact, the phrase “hustle and bustle” is completely synonymous with Christmas and the holidays. Stress can be off the charts, and alcohol intake often goes up in an attempt to combat the effects of stress.

So, what’s a girl (or boy) to do?

The answer? We have to train ourselves to consciously slow down when we feel overwhelmed. Simple solutions, such as deep breathing, meditation, and yoga can help considerably, without making a giant time investment.

Deep breathing: I’m talking about 10-20 deep, conscious breaths in and out, for a count of 5. 5 in, 5 out. It takes about one minute to complete this exercise, and it makes all the difference.

Meditiation: This takes stress relief one step further. You can do this, even if you’ve never done it before. Find a place that is preferably quiet and dark. Sit or lie, close your eyes, and breathe deeply. If you can do it the way I described above, then that’s ideal. While breathing, think about or whisper an affirmation. It can be “I” while breathing in, and “can” while breathing out. Or “slow” and “down.” Or whatever you want. This works.

If you’re feeling as though you might kill someone (usually a partner is the object of temporary hate here– you may be feeling like you do it all, and he/she doesn’t pull his/her weight), then I highly recommend you go ahead and attend a yoga class. If you go at night, you can often find a candlelight restorative class, or something akin to it. Yoga combines the deep breathing and the meditation, as well as some light exercise, positive reinforcement, and welcome comradery. It’s the best of the best, in terms of stress relief.

So, instead of drinking yourself into oblivion, slaying a spouse, or throwing a giant tantrum in front of your children this year (that last one hits home for me…), consider a healthier way of dealing with your anxiety and stress. After all, the holidays are meant to be fun, not stressful. TGIF!