16 March 2018

Controlling PCOS Symptoms Naturally

I’ve deemed this month “Hormone Health Month,” because lately everyone I talk to is concerned about their hormone levels. Since I have been so open about my struggle with PCOS, I have had many friends approach me asking about ways I have balanced my own hormones. The truth is, I am not a healthcare professional, and I am not going to pretend I know what I am talking about when it comes to hormonal health. But, I did do A LOT of research when I was diagnosed with PCOS because I was determined to control the symptoms naturally - aka NOT relying on synthetic hormone treatments such as the Birth Control Pill. That being said, if you struggle with PCOS and want to know some of the ways I have managed my hormones, read on ...

Manage Stress
I manage stress with exercise. I go to the gym 4 days a week and hot yoga 2 days a week, with one day for my body to rest. Exercise is essential to happy hormones. In lamens terms, when you sweat you release endorphins, a hormone that essentially gives you a “high” feeling. If you exercise in the morning you are starting your day off with an immediate positive outlook. Which is why I workout for an hour before work every day. As long as I manage the day-to-day stress of work, I am generally a happy person and feel stress-free.

Eat Well
A healthy and well-balanced diet is also essential to controlling PCOS symptoms. The first thing I tell people is to start controlling their sugar levels. I have read over and over about how high insulin levels are the biggest contributor to PCOS symptoms. Since insulin resistance causes your body to create higher than normal levels of male hormones, you are suffering from unwanted hair growth, acne and irregular periods. I notice immediately when I eat something with a high glucose level that my skin starts to tingle, as if I am developing acne as it melts in my mouth. I love dessert, and I love candy and FRUIT! So, I still indulge, but I definitely pay the price. I also swap out white sugar for coconut sugar whenever I can, or I sweeten smoothies with dates. There are so many great ways to sub white sugar with low-glycemic options and I am excited to share these ideas with you through my blog.

So to reiterate, avoid caffeine, eat a high protein, high fibre, iron-rich and low-glycemic diet and avoid processed foods. You will start to notice a difference in your skin, your hair growth patterns AND I think you will notice losing weight becomes a lot easier. Keep checking back for amazing PCOS-approved recipes I plan on sharing in the near future!

Meditate and Sleep Well
This is everyone's favourite time of day - ha! As I lay in bed every night listening to the Calm App and Tyler has to listen. One day I am determined he will join in this few moments of solitude. But until then he will snore beside me - the sounds of his snores are quite soothing! This is another way for me to manage stress, but it also helps with my sleep patterns. The nights I meditate, I wake up less throughout the night, and wake up in the morning feeling more rested. Rest is crucial to EVERYONE, not just those suffering with hormone-related illness.

Clean Up Your Skincare Routine
Many cosmetic companies use hormone disrupting chemicals in their products. This is because there is little to NO regulation in the cosmetic industry. Ingredients such as phthalates and parabens, when absorbed through the skin (remember it's your body's largest organ!), can disrupt hormones and cause a multitude of health problems. Toxins in cosmetics are linked to nervous system damage, body acne, allergies, skin sensitivity and cancer.

There are so many amazing clean brands on the path to CONSCIOUS consumerism. Some of my favourites are: Beautycounter, Rocky Mountain Soap Co., Juice Beauty, Honest Beauty, The Honest Co., RMS, Tata Harper, Herbivore Botanicals  and Native. I will continue to share more and more about these brands and their AMAZING products as I try them, see results and learn more about the company's values! So stay tuned.

Indulge in Raw Cacao
Our body craves chocolate before our period because we need these two minerals to menstruate regularly. Avoid sugary chocolate bars and add a tablespoon of raw cacao powder, which is high in magnesium AND iron, to your morning smoothie. Or, have a square of Giddy Yoyo's 100% Raw Dark Chocolate when you are craving something sweet!

As always, if you have any questions please reach out to me!


04 March 2018

Winter in Ontario: The Northridge Inn

We couldn't have found a better place to spend an extra long weekend in February. After searching for Muskoka cottage rentals with wood burning fireplaces, I stumbled upon The Northridge Inn - located in the Township of Strong, just 30 minutes north of Huntsville. The Inn has 20 large hotel rooms, 4 cabins, and in the summer 3 glamping tents and a vintage Airstream.
The moment we walked in the door we were treated like family. There were dog bowls and a blanket waiting for Colby in the room. Our bed was adorned with a faux fur throw and matching throw pillows. Bright yellow accents brightened up the otherwise rustic, cabin-esque feel of the room. I was in heaven already.
I hadn't even seen the dining room yet. The dining room is mostly white with chevron wood floors and the most gorgeous stone fireplace - which we ate dessert beside every night. The thrown together, "pretty" accents are what make this place so warm. It's like an antique store exploded on the walls and shelves of this Inn and the final product is nothing short of perfect.
The food was to die for. We ate 2 dinners, 2 breakfasts and a lunch at the resort dining room because we wanted to keep trying more menu items.
My absolute favourite meal was probably the smoked salmon benny - breakfast IS my favourite meal. But the mashed potatoes at dinner - with a hint of mint - were mind blowing.
Winter activities are galore here - snowshoeing (borrow for free from the Front Desk!), cross country ski trails, ice fishing, skating on the ice trail at Arrowhead Provincial park. These are only a few of the things you can do in the area. There is also Horseback Riding and dog sledding in the area.
We snowshoed across the lake to the ice fishing hut on the middle of Lake Saint Bernard to check out what people were catching. The weather was so nice that the top of the lake was slushy - pretty scary! But we asked one of the staff members at the Inn and they assured us it was safe and the ice would be safe enough to walk on for another month or so.
For the beer lovers! Check out Highlander Brew Co. for free tours of the brewery and free beer tastings. We picked up a bottle of their Winter seasonal beer; a 10% fruity blend of deliciousness. My personal favourite was their Rye Road. The dining room at the Northridge Inn serves Highlander Pined Ale on tap, which Tyler really liked! (Rumour has it that brew is ONLY served at the Northridge Inn.)
We definitely created a new Family Day weekend tradition and can't wait to come back. BUT we definitely won't wait an entire year - and can't wait to head back this Summer to check out what a new season has to offer up at Northridge.
Thanks for the hospitality - we can't wait to be back!
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