Casting my net...

With Victoria Day here in Canada and Memorial Day in the US over the last couple of weekends we have now welcomed the 'official' start of Summer! I love the change of seasons, it's a great time to switch up routines. I've been thrown into 'race season' by my lovely wife. Mostly as a spectator and chief bag check bitch but this weekend I somehow got roped into running a 10km in knees are dreading it as I don't run too much these days - due to bad knees, but mentally I know I'll be fine, and I'm looking forward to a weekend getaway in the mountains!

In the meantime....

Grocery stores are getting tougher and tougher to navigate - and I don't just mean getting lost in the aisles! I beleive you have a right to know what is in the food you are feeding your family but food labels are confusing and often misleading. Find out what the terms Natural, Organic & Non-GMO mean and Why it Matters to You! 

Do you struggle with creativity? I know I do. It takes effort to spark and nurture creativity and we can often get burnt out. Why not take the next 2 minutes to watch this video for 29 ways to stay creative

We all have low and high points in our life. The story behind my name InSpiral Coaching is that everyone has 2 choices when faced with adversity - either work your way back up or slide on down. Both are well-used paths so it's easy to follow either one of them. But it's how you deal with it that counts. In fact, having a low point is actually a good thing.

The change of season always gets my wife into a cleaning/tidying/purging frenzy. I can't complain! We all have that excess baggage - and for once I'm not talking about those extra midriff pounds!...I'm talking household junk! Here are 24 things to get rid of with no regret! I guarantee you'll be guilty of giving house space to more than a few of them!

And finally for today I'll finish with 10 Nutrition facts that everyone agrees on...

Have a great weekend whatever you're up to...:-)

Healthy road trip snacks and habits

Summer's coming and for many people that means road trips. Everyone loves a good road trip whether it's visiting family, going camping or exploring new places. But do you really want to put all your healthy hard work on the back burner on the way?

I've put a few tips together for healthy snacks and habits on the road...

Before you start

Clean the car inside and out! The last thing you want to be driving in is a reminder of your recent shopping trip or last week's commuting; the smell of wet dog, the sweaty gym gear or just yesterday's coffee cups! A clean and fresh smelling car is a great way to start the trip off feeling healthy and clean yourselves.

Prepare some snacks. There's a good chance you'll want to eat on the way and you should definitely be hydrating to keep your brain in gear! The best foods for when you're spending half the day sat folded in half is veg and fruit. Chop up a bunch of carrots, bell peppers, celery and add some baby tomatoes to a ziplock bag; keep it fresh by not drying the veg off once you've rinsed it and keeping the bag sealed. In another bag put some slices of apple, pear and other moist fruits. If you know you 'need' sweet or savour snacks on the road, then buy some healthy dark chocolate and consider baking some fruit slices. I like to make up a bag of trail mix type snacks - don't buy them, they're full of salt and/or sugar. Buy the nuts, seeds and dried berries you like, throw in a handful of dark chocolate chips and enjoy!

Prep a music playlist. Remember when we used to make tapes of favourite tunes to listen to on the road? (Well, some of us do...) Rather than spend half the day trying to find a decent radio station that will ply you with commercials; make up a playlist of energetic and vibrant music to keep your mood high while driving. If you have a favourite 'workout' playlist, that can often help keep up with the motivation to stay healthy.

Fill up with gas the night before you go so as not to tempt yourself with bought snacks. And if you need gas along the way - buy gas, use the bathrooms but keep out of the store - there's nothing in there for you - nothing! 

On the way

Stop at the Supermarket not roadside diner. If you run out of food and get hungry; don't stop at cheap chain restaurants; pull into a supermarket. It doesn't need to be a health food store; there's plenty of good eating options in any supermarket. But stay on the perimeter of the store and resist the aisles as that's where they keep the crap!

Take rest breaks in the middle of nowhere. Look out for parks and take 10 minutes walking a trail or taking photos of whatever the park has to offer. Have a picnic; it takes no longer than being served in a roadside cafe and you'll feel far more refreshed and revitalized after a break in the fresh air rather than a hot and greasy cafe full of fried food.  Don't stop in towns to rest unless there's a particular sight you want to see. All towns and cities want your money; they draw you in with their advertising billboards and brightly lit eateries.

Don't get stressed!!! Easy for me to say right... Well, think about it for a minute; you can't change what happens out on the road but you can change how you react to it. Decide now not to let other drivers wind you up and if there's traffic hold ups, so what - you can't fix them so just relax and go with the flow. Shift in your seat, turn off the cruise control, use both hands and keep even the smallest movement going. Relax your neck and roll your head from side to side - but keep your eyes on the road, don't relax too much and nod off...

Enjoy the trip! Years ago people used to take a drive purely for the enjoyment of it. I know we all think we live in this crazy busy world where we have to rush around like we're on fire, (at least that's what everyone keeps telling us...) but are we really? There are no highway robbers anymore and most vehicles are pretty reliable and will get you where you're going with no problems. So enjoy the time away from work, home, the city and revel in your own little world...

Avocados! - Healthy Recipes Blog Carnival

Welcome to May's Healthy Recipes Blog Carnival! This month's featured ingredient is Avocados.

Avocados have nearly 20 vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, including potassium, vitamins B6, C and E, folate, and fiber. They have the "good" fats — heart healthy mono- and poly- unsaturated fats — which make avocados a good alternative to foods rich in saturated fats such as mayo and cream cheese. Avocados act as a "nutrient booster" by enabling the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients such as vitamins A, D, E, and K.

Here are some awesome ways to enjoy Avocados in your diet; experiment and enjoy…Just click on the links below to see the full recipe details;

Simple Honey Lime Avocados by Me!
Creamy Spinach Avocado Pasta by Christi from Food Love
Easy Guacamole by Ashley of {never} homemaker
Avocado Popsicles by Katy of Katy she Cooks
Blueberry Avocado Smoothie by Livvy Liv(e) Love Laugh
Cucumber & Avocado Soup by Barbara from Rawfully Tempting
BAT (Bacon, Avocado & Tomato) Pasta by Helen from What Happened Next...

Join me next month for the next Healthy Recipes Blog Carnival - the featured ingredient will be posted on the first of the month and recipes will be posted on 17th June!

Simple Honey Lime Avocados

I love this as a simple, quick and easy snack with the bonus that it fills me up with good, healthy fats. I usually have 1/2 Avocado - and for the non-pretty, un-photogenic version I usually cut it up and scoop out of the skins into a little bowl then drizzle it all with the dressing.


  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
  • Himalayan Salt
  • Cracked Black Pepper
  • Cayenne
  • Chives
Mix together the first 3 ingredients and drizzle over the avocados. Sprinkle the Salt, Pepper & Cayenne to taste. Garnish with chopped chives.

Casting my net....

I've got a nice random selection of reading fodder for you this weekend...supplements, juice pulp, spirituality, happy people and orthorexia. Read on people....

The question of supplements is something I personally battle with over and over again. My course has a tonne of information both for and against taking them. I think I have just about figured out my own 'take' on it, and I think this article on 'should I take supplements or not?' sums it up pretty well

I'm absolutely loving our juicer right now. But the amount of waste from the pulp just bums me out! Here are 20 smart uses for leftover juice pulp. My wife already tried out tip #10 when she made some delicious muffins with leftover carrot & sweet potato pulp. We've also just picked up a new composter so #20 will be put into action in the next few days. And we did try out #19 on our pup Miss Meli who seemed quite happy with the addition and extra flavour in her food bowl. 3 down, 17 to go!!

How would you define spirituality and what is ‘appropriate’ behavior? There are lots of misconceptions about what spirituality is, which in turn confuses the question how is a spiritual person supposed to act

Are you a happy person? What’s the secret to being happy? You can learn how to do it, just as you can learn any other skill. The truth is, happiness doesn’t come from wealth, perfect looks or even a perfect relationship. Happiness comes from within. This is why, if you truly want to be happy, you need to work on yourself, first. Here are 22 Positive Habits of Happy People

And finally, I may promote healthy eating here but you don’t want to end up like this – a ‘new’ kind of eating disorder called orthorexia. Ever heard of it? No, neither had I! So new that the American Psychiatric Association (APA) does not recognize it, and neither does my spell-checker!

Supreme 90 - Program review

Someone recently asked for opinions on various exercise DVD programs so I thought I'd start to write reviews of ones I've tried; starting with 'Supreme 90';

First off, I have to say I'm amazed at the price you can pick this up for. I paid $20 from 'Bed, Bath and Beyond' but I've seen it NEW on E Bay for as little as $9.99 - for a 10 DVD set! When I was in the market for a home exercise program all I could think of were the celebrity style videos from way back; you know the sort - you watch and follow it twice and you're bored of it. So I was looking for something cheap that wouldn't really matter if it spent the rest of its life gathering dust on a shelf. 'Supreme 90' seemed to me like it may have been a cheap 'copy' of some of the more well known DVD sets out there and I was prepared for it to show in its quality but how wrong I was!

Like the title suggests it's a 90 day program, but who was I kidding? It must have taken me nearly double that time to work my way through the whole program but I must say, I was impressed with the results over time. I wasn't looking to change my weight but I did want more muscle tone and like most people, particularly tighten up around the middle - both of which I achieved!

You don't even need a whole bunch of equipment either; some floor space, a stability ball and a few dumbbells is all you need (and in the early days, even those you could manage without!)

The program is based around the theory of 'muscle shock', in the sense that if you do the same thing over and over, you'll stay the same. "The definition of insanity - doing the same thing and expecting different results". So following the routines, even taking days out for lame excuses and other such procrastination, that was exactly what happened; I'd start to get used to a routine and BAM - things would get switched around and new muscles would start to ache.

There's a great variety of workouts too; from all cardio, through just core work and 'Tabata' style routines to concentrated muscle group exercises i.e. back and biceps or just legs. The shortest workout, not including the warm up and cool down is only around 20 minutes and the longest about 45 which again, kept the boredom at bay.

So you're probably thinking it's all good news with nothing to criticize, and you'd be almost right however... there are a couple of things I would have liked to see done differently. The first of which is the speed some of the exercises are done, particularly when a number of 'reps' are called for. The people they use in the DVDs obviously know their stuff and can bang out a dozen reps a lot quicker than most can, especially someone new to exercising. The answer to this is don't get carried along - hit the pause button and take your time; correct form is far more important than speed! the other, admittedly small, issue was the warm ups and cool downs; apart from one slightly different warm up, each DVD started and finished the same. So you spend as much time warming up the upper body for the leg workout as you do for chest, shoulders and triceps! This is really getting pedantic now I know but I'm just telling it like it is.

Overall though, and particularly for the price, this 10 DVD set has to be one of the best value for money exercise programs out there. And did I mention the eye candy...;-) Seriously, I'd have to give it 10 out of 10!

"New York, New York - so good they named it twice..."

For the last week my head has been spinning, and it's taken me time to 'come down' from the high that was IIN LIVE! As a current student at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) I was invited to attend their Spring conference in New York, and buying that plane ticket was probably the best decision I've made all year! In the early stages very little about the conference was announced as the school worked hard to secure speakers and presenters - we took it on trust that it was worth the trip.....and have you gathered by now that I most definitely thought it was worth the trip now it's all said and done?!

The excitement and anticipation of the event was just slightly dampened by the terrifying invitation from the school to stand up on stage in front of 1,200 peers and give testimonial of the course and school as part of the opening address on the Saturday morning of the conference. Of course I was honoured to be asked, but terrified just the same!
And this wasn't JUST the 1200 people in the conference hall - there were thousands more watching
the conference via live streaming....yikes!!

My view from the wings, just before we headed on stage!
As I mentioned in my short but sweet testimonial on stage that 'the most valuable thing I have gained from this course is the friendships and connections I have made with my fellow classmates and peers'. And for that I am enormously grateful and blessed. I have made so many friendships with wonderful people from all over the world, and it was an exciting and inspiring opportunity to meet so many of them, that for the past 7 months we've been communicating via Facebook, email and Skype. I show my age a little when I say I never came from an age where your best friend could be someone you never met, but technology truly is a wonderful thing and I there's a handful of people I trust, respect and lean on and am proud to call my friends.

The conference itself was as amazing as I expected, but the vibe from all the health coaches in one place together was even more incredible than I'd imagined it would be. People were bumping into, and calling out to anyone and everyone they recognized, (from FaceBook) it really was like a school reunion of best friends. New York is a fantastic city at the best of times but it's even better when large groups of like-minded people full of enthusiasm and spirit are hanging out in one of the most popular areas of the city right on the edge of Central Park.

I arrived on the Friday evening was was whisked straight off to a gathering of IIN ambassadors in downtown Manhattan. Saturday was the conference with speakers such as Joe Cross (from Reboot with Joe / Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead documentary fame, Alicia Silverstone - the actress and famed vegan and animal rights activist, Dr Andrew Weil talking about integrative medicines and Dan Buettner talking about 'The Blue Zones' plus many many more. I was impressed at the diversity and calibre of speakers that we had talking to us.
My two lovely laydeez.....Shana and Lynne

In the evening it was followed by a wonderful rooftop 'soiree' at my awesome host's, (Lynne from Aware of This?) apartment - it was magical watching the sunset over New York as friendships were made and solidified (and shock horror - Health Coaches who drank and partied!!!). And all too soon we'd got to Sunday afternoon and the end of the conference. So many people were (comparatively) local and headed straight out of the city. I had 2 more nights. I needed that time to take stock of what an amazing experience it had been, and of course to soak in a few of the New York sights.

Spring into Summer Detox Program

Would you like to really feel more energized and alive? 
Would you like to healthily loose 4 to 6 lbs of unwanted weight? 
Would you like break bad eating habits, reduce cravings and eat more healthfully?

Summer is on it's way so why not get yourself ready for the season with a Detox program with me!

I'm hosting a special 'Spring into Summer' 15-day Detox program starting on 23rd May. I've designed this program to help you reset, rejuvenate and detoxify your body ready for summer.

We'll start with a 4 day pre-detox phase, followed by our 7-day detox program, and finishing up with a 4-day transition phase. You'll receive a complete day-by-day detox guide and recipe book and I'll be with you every step of the way with daily emails, 2 scheduled conference calls plus I'm available to answer any of your email questions at any time during the program. You'll also have the opportunity to have a personal one-on-one Health & Lifestyle consultation at the end of your program to help assess your health goals for the future.

As an introductory price I'm offering this program at just $79.00! (regular price is $99.00!). Just click HERE for more information on this great program! And I look forward to helping you 'Spring into Summer'!

(I will be running this Detox program for a second time on 10th June if the first date isn't working for you!)

Guest Post: It’s Not an Eating Disorder it’s a Lifestyle Disorder…

Today I’d love to welcome Anna Wootton who is a Holistic Health Coach from My Healthy Place. She’s talking to us about an issue that many of us may be struggling with that can often-times block our efforts to lose weight - Lifestyle Disorder…read on to find out more!

Imagine this scenario for a moment: you’re sitting at home on a Friday night without any plans to go out. You've had a long week and it’s Friday – you deserve a treat. You break off a square of chocolate and enjoy it as a treat. But when you’re finished, you want more. You resist for a while but you can’t sit on the couch and last the whole night without a few more trips to the kitchen to break off a few more squares – maybe you even cave and down the whole bar in one go.

Sound familiar?

You may think you have an eating disorder. I'm a binger. I need to go to Overeaters Anonymous. I'm gross, weak, fat, I have no willpower… any or all of these thoughts may be running through your mind. The truth? You probably have a lifestyle disorder.
What does this mean? It means you could be using that chocolate to fill a void in your life. But finding out what that void is can take a bit of investigation, and that is where a health & lifestyle coach can help.

Sometimes it takes an objective eye to call you on your lifestyle lapses. Where is your lifestyle failing you? Remember, it’s not your fault. There are no pointing fingers or laying blame! It’s just that if I can help you get to the root of what’s going on sooner; then we can make the magic happen sooner. Once the root cause of your mindless eating has been identified, that’s 75% of the work done!

My personal philosophy is that most voids are best filled with fun. A fun, exciting life is what most of us want  - and yet all too often we are turning to food to provide this fun for us because, hey, it’s the easiest and cheapest way to get a kick outta life! And food really CAN be fun, so I get it. But when we start overusing this as a source of entertainment, that’s when the trouble starts. My six-month coaching program, ‘Life is About Fun, Not Food!’ works on refocusing your perspective so that you are living the invigorating, fun and inspiring life you were meant to lead, with complete and total freedom from food and – yes – natural, sustainable and healthy weight loss as a result.

Anna is a health coach at Your Healthy Place, specializing in helping women lose weight by showing them that Life is About FUN, Not Food!. If you’d like to hear more from Anna then you can visit her over at blog where she shares health tips, quick and easy yet healthy recipes on her blog. She is also the author of the e-cookbook A Day in Your Healthy Place.

Exercise Alone is not Enough

OK, so you’re exercising and working as hard as you can but are you holding yourself back in other areas?

What did you eat today, or yesterday – or any day for that matter? No amount of hard work can make up for a bad diet. You may lose weight by using up your body’s fuel reserves and/or water but it doesn't mean you’ll be healthy.

Many people look fit on the outside but are unhealthy on the inside due to what they feed their bodies. We should be exercising to ourselves keep fit, strong, supple and active; and we should be eating to fuel our bodies. It’s as simple as that; give your body what it needs to perform the way you want it to. There’s an old adage that losing weight is all about calories in verses calories out and on a very basic level that sounds like sense. But that is an old outdated theory and in reality calories can be very different depending where they come from; some calories, (green leafy greens, whole grains, grass fed meat) give you good useful energy while others, (refined sugars and processed food) drain you with first a spike and then a crash in your blood sugar levels. Some quick tips;

  • Don’t confuse good fat with so called ‘low fat’. Our bodies need good fat to survive, and consuming good fat, (avocados, nuts, fatty fish) actually helps you burn more body fat, whereas ‘low fat’ often means full of chemicals or sugar.
  • People talk about ‘carbo loading’, (eating foods high in carbohydrates for the purpose of exercise) but unless you’re a serious athlete any excess carbs will be stored by the body as fat!
  • Don’t over eat but also don’t under eat; your body will think there’s a famine and will start to store more body fat at the expense of your energy.

Keep it all in perspective; eat a good balanced diet and work hard to achieve your desired results. Think healthy – be healthy – healthy is the new sexy!

This post first appeared on the Results 4 Life Fitness Blog on March 18, 2013.

50 at 50 Exercise Challenge - Contest Winner!

Thanks to everyone who took part in my first Exercise Challenge last month! I felt the love all birthday-month long, as I took a turn into my second half century! We had nearly 150 participants - some keeping up all month long, and others hopping on and off the wagon  - but whatever you did you are ALL rock stars! (but especially Les who did 50 individual planks throughout Day 3!! - doh!)

I've had a blast, and loved seeing your photos and reading your comments!

But what you really want to know is who won the photo contest - right?! We saw lots of great shots and I had lots of favourites so it was tricky to pick - you can see some of the entries here....

But this crazy animal has to take the prize....

Congrats Andy - a spectacular effort with your High Knees exercise on Day 4!! Not sure that workout gear is gonna' catch on though.....I'll be in touch with your $25 iTunes gift card!!

And THANKS AGAIN to everyone who took part!

May's featured ingredient...

If you'd like to take part in May's Healthy Recipe Blog Carnival then read on....

The next Blog Carnival will be published on Monday 20th May, 2013

May's featured ingredient is AVOCADOS!

If you've got a great recipe to share that contains avocados then why not submit it?! All submissions must be received by the deadline of Friday 17th May to be included. 

Here's how it works;

Each month I pick a particular ingredient that all recipes should feature and anyone that would like to participate can link up their favourite/best recipe for inclusion.

On blog carnival day I publish a blog post featuring that ingredient with fun and factual information about it and link all submitted recipes in one convenient place. All recipes will give full credit to the author and link back to your own blog or recipe site so everyone will need to visit your site to view the full recipe details. Your recipe can be something you posted today or a year ago – it doesn't matter, but they must appear on your blog with a full ingredient list, directions and at least one photo (because everyone loves seeing pics don’t they?!

Sign up and join us HERE!
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