Adaptogenic Chaga Smoothie

holistic vitae, Steph Matthews, chaga, chaga smoothie, adaptogen, hormones, stress relief, smoothie, smoothies, cinnamon, coconut, breakfast, organic, gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian, vegetables, five a day, healthy, vegan, raw, raw vegan, healthy food, holistic nutrition, Organic September, yoga girl, deliciously ella, madeleine shaw, nutrition, health, holistic, healthy living, fresh, plant based, plant powerThis is a delicious smoothie using the balancing action of the adaptogenic chaga mushroom.

Chaga is a medicinal mushroom along the same lines as Reishi, Shiitake, and Cordyceps, amongst many others. It acts as an antioxidant, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, has anti-cancer properties, and helps to support the immune system. It’s wonderful for supporting the body at this time of year when we begin to transition from summer into fall and the colder months.

When you brew this hearty tough mushroom, you wind up with a wonderful tea that nourishes your organs and your glands. Being an adaptogen, this does exactly what it says: it helps our bodies “adapt” to our inward and outward biological, chemical, and physical environments. Adaptogens also keep our stress hormones in check, preventing us from releasing more than we need in times of crisis and our fight or flight mode. Overall, adaptogens provide a balancing and calming effect on the whole body, especially the nervous and endocrine systems, allowing us to cope with the things life throws our way.

Special care should always be taken when harvesting this mushroom. It’s always best to ensure that wherever you are purchasing your Chaga from, the company maintains practices that keep parts of the mushroom behind so the spores can repopulate and it may grow again.

While you can just easily sip this as a warm or cold tea or make a delicious hot cocoa with it, adding it as the liquid base to your smoothie gives you a great dose of the little fungi too! Paired with raw cacao and plant-based protein it becomes a wholesome smoothie to optimally support your body.

Serves 1

Ingredients

1 cup cold brewed chaga tea
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 Medjool date
3 tbsp. hemp hearts
1 heaping tbsp. raw cacao powder
Pinch of Himalayan sea salt

Optional: 1 tsp. maca, pinch of cinnamon

Directions

Add all ingredients to a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

Banana Bread Overnight Oats

holistic vitae, Steph Matthews, banana, banana bread, organic september, overnight oats, oats, porridge, oatmeal, cinnamon, coconut, breakfast, back to school, back to school recipes, labour day, labour day weekend, long weekend, gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian, vegetables, five a day, healthy, vegan, raw, raw vegan, healthy food, holistic nutrition, yoga girl, deliciously ella, madeleine shaw, nutrition, health, healthy living, fresh, plant based

Happy Long Weekend!

Labour Day is always the day of that final farewell to summer if only because it means returning back to routines with school and work.

Making that even easier is prepping ahead with easy to make recipes such as this overnight oats breakfast I shared on The Huffington Post today. These really are one of the quickest things to make, ready the night before you wake, and leaving you with more time in the morning.

Ingredients

1 cup of oats (gluten free if necessary)

1 cup of coconut milk (or milk of choice)

¼ cup of water

1 banana

½ tsp. vanilla extract

½ tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. nutmeg

Pinch of sea salt

Handful of walnuts

Optional: 1 tsp. maca powder

Directions

  1. Add the oats, coconut milk, water, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pinch of sea salt to a bowl and mix together.
  1. Take half the banana, mash with a fork, and add to your mixed oats.
  1. Chop the walnuts and add these to the mix. You can also set some aside to add on top in the morning.
  1. Place the bowl in the fridge ready to have in the morning. Alternatively, you can add your oat mixture to a jar with a sealed lid overnight in the fridge.

5. In the morning, add the other half of banana to your oats as well as any additional toppings of your choosing.

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Yoga Playlist V

yoga playlist, yoga music, music for yoga, yoga, vinyasa, yoga sequence, spotify, yoga class, yoga practice, meditation, yoga flow, upbeat music, playlist for yogaI’ve got so many random playlists circulating on Spotify at the moment but one just came together a couple of weeks ago that I’ve been loving. I’m playing this all the time when I have a few moments for a short yoga practice and even on my commute in and out of the city.

This playlist and more are all up on Spotify.

  1. Still Wild- La Mar
  2. California Girls- NoMBe
  3. Hustler- Josef Salvat
  4. Wood- Rostam
  5. Matchstick- Yuma X
  6. Kalifornia- Modern Pleasure
  7. Tell Me- ALTA
  8. Runnin Thru My Dreams- Sunny Levine
  9. Sinking (Ft. Nori)- Feverkim
  10. Winter- Daughter
  11. Feels- Giraffage
  12. Stargazer- ISLAND
  13. It’s Alright- Majik
  14. Shiver- Lucy Rose
  15. Want Me- Affelaye
  16. Re: Stacks- Bon Iver

 

 

A Small Token of Appreciation for My Yoga Practice

yoga, love, happiness, holistic, health, wellness, meditation, yoga girl, international yoga day, yoga day, yoga practice, vinyasa, yoga love, gratitude, anxiety, depression, heart opening, emotions, raw, real talk, happy,

Yoga, you have been my saviour.

For all that has ailed me: anxiety, depression, anger, pain, and the many stresses in life.

For all that you have offered me: happiness, love, acceptance, gratitude, heart opening, connections with my own soul and the beautiful souls of others I have been fortunate enough to meet.

Yoga you have bestowed upon me more wealth than I could ask for from my mat, my friend, my home.

Yoga you are the safe place to explore the raw emotions of my true being.

Yoga you have given me strength unseen in the physical form, more than skin deep, and running farther than the life that exists within me.

Yoga your continued presence is always just what I need at just the right time and just the right place whenever I step foot on the mat.

Yoga I am forever grateful for having you crack me open and seeing the world with different eyes.

Thank you for being there when I have cried, when I have ached, when I have smiled, when I have laughed, when I have mastered a pose, and when I have fallen on my face.

Thank you for giving me time to heal and for giving me hope when I thought there was no more to have.

Thank you for filling me with light in my spirit and therein my every step.

Thank you for always teaching me something new when I create moments of synchronized mind and movement.

Thank you for the spaces in between the breaths, for that is the essence of what really matters.

Yoga thank you, for your infinite support, your unwavering, unapologetic, and unconditional love.

Spring Rice Wraps

 spring, recipes, rice wraps, Asian food, Asian fusion, gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian, vegetables, five a day, healthy, vegan, raw, raw vegan, healthy food, holistic nutrition, yoga girl, deliciously ella, madeleine shaw, nutrition, health, healthy living, fresh, herbs, plant basedThe changing of the seasons always pinpoints a change in our eating habits. There’s an increase in fresh and light foods from the heavy and hearty ones that kept us warm through the cold months.

I was very ambitious back in March making these for lunch on an almost daily basis thinking spring was well and truly here. Of course I was misled by the sunnier mornings and the rising temperatures were only fleeting.

Now I think I am safe in saying that spring seems to be making itself known and these rice wraps are a great transition into the lighter side of things.

There’s no exact measurement for the amount of ingredients here; mix and match whatever veggies you like, add some sprouts, rice noodles, shrimp, different herbs, etc. The beauty of these is using what you have on hand or changing it up with what’s in season for different colours, flavours, and textures.

I made these with fresh basil, cucumber, carrot, zucchini, chopped lettuce, and rice noodles, sprinkling in some sesame seeds and hemp hearts. Get creative by changing up the veggies, spiralizing some and chopping others.

Instead of using peanut butter, I’ve made an almond butter satay sauce with a spicy hit that really takes these up a notch! spring, recipes, rice wraps, Asian food, Asian fusion, gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian, vegetables, five a day, healthy, vegan, raw, raw vegan, healthy food, holistic nutrition, yoga girl, deliciously ella, madeleine shaw, nutrition, health, healthy living, fresh, herbs, plant basedIngredients:

Rice wraps

Variety of veggies, chopped into “matchsticks”- red pepper, cucumber, carrot, zucchini, greens, etc.

Vermicelli

Fresh herbs- basil, parsley, coriander

Sesame seeds

Hemp hearts

2 tbsp. almond butter

1 tbsp. maple syrup

1 lime, juice and zest

1 tsp. tamari

1 clove of garlic, minced

Splash of water- to thin as needed

Optional– chopped red chilli, chopped green onion

Directions

  1. If using vermicelli, boil some water to pour over desired amount and set aside for allotted time until softened.
  1. Chop your veggies into matchsticks, and if using, spiralize your zucchini.
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together almond butter, maple syrup, tamari, lime, and garlic. Add water if needed to slightly thin the sauce.
  1. Assemble your wraps: Pour a couple of tablespoons of water onto a large plate. Taking a rice wrap, dip it into the water until every part has been coated with the water. Do this for about 25 seconds then lay onto a chopping board.
  1. Sprinkle sesame seeds, hemp seeds across the wrap. Layer a couple of leaves of basil in the centre then add the veggies you like, noodles, anything you’re using to fill.
  1. Start from the bottom of the wrap, roll away from you and fold over the filling. Tuck each of the sides in and continue to roll until you have a wrap.
  1. Repeat with the rest of your ingredients and serve with the almond satay sauce.

 spring, recipes, rice wraps, Asian food, Asian fusion, gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian, vegetables, five a day, healthy, vegan, raw, raw vegan, healthy food, holistic nutrition, yoga girl, deliciously ella, madeleine shaw, nutrition, health, healthy living, fresh, herbs, plant based

 

The Magic of Magnesium

organic, natural remedies, magnesium, minerals, epsom salts, relaxation, stress relief, stress management, holistic, holistic health, health, wellness, healthy, healthy lifestyle, healthy livingOne of the things I was most looking forward to with finally studying holistic nutrition was delving into the solid facts about the things I have read.

It’s easy to do a quick Google search about a certain vitamin or easily become confused about whether fats or healthy or not with all the information floating around out there but now I’m truly learning what this is all about. The dots are beginning to connect as knowledge flows through my classes into everyday life.

One of the first classes I took was an introductory course into the fundamentals of nutrition. This was a great class led by a great teacher full of outside the box info on holistic health and gave a general overview of the basics of nutrition. Towards the end, we finally covered vitamins and minerals which I think are always a bit confusing as there’s so much out there to know. How many times have you gone to a health food shop only to leave feeling more overwhelmed than before you arrived?

I want to highlight some of these on here and I wanted the first one to be one of my favourite minerals: Magnesium.

There’s good reason as to why I love magnesium so much. It’s definitely worked its magic on my classmates and myself during stress-y periods of constant assignments, tests, and exams. How does magnesium do this exactly?

Magnesium is one in the top three minerals that we tend to be deficient in (alongside iron and zinc). In today’s modern world, it’s hard to get enough of this from our soil alone as it’s very often depleted due to current farming practices. We also become deleted in this mineral by our fast paced lifestyles fuelled by caffeine and excess sugar.

One way to make sure you’re getting what you can from a food source is to ensure you’re purchasing organic. Organic food comes from soil that is treated without the use of chemical fertilizers leaving you with more of the nutrients intact for your body to receive. A few sources to mention include organic brown rice, almonds, spinach, and chard.

Magnesium is a natural relaxant and tranquilizer that helps to alleviate muscle spasms and tension. It’s also helpful in easing muscle cramps, PMS symptoms, anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, as a laxative, reducing stress, and as a prevention and treatment for heart attacks and heart disease. Just to name a few.

When looking for a magnesium supplement, you’ll most often come across either:

  • Magnesium Citrate (useful as a laxative)
  • Magnesium Malate (useful for fibromyalgia & muscle aches)
  • Magnesium Oxide (not as readily absorbed as the others)
  • Magnesium Bisglycinate (this is the newest of the bunch with the highest absorption)

It’s best to go for a complex (a blend of them all) this way you ensure you’re getting a well-rounded formula.

My favourite way of getting more magnesium is actually through Epsom salt baths and magnesium spray. This is a really gentle way to ease into the benefits of this wonderful mineral.

I find this is a great way to unwind in the evening: Have a bath filled with Epsom salts (I use minimum 2 cups) then spray the body while skin is still damp with magnesium spray so everything absorbs into your system for a rested and peaceful sleep.

It truly does work wonders and I can say this as anyone who I’ve recommended this to have seen a huge improvement and they notice the difference when they go without.

How do you know if you’re deficient and how much should you supplement? If you’re consuming magnesium tablets, you can start with 200mg increasing until you reach bowel tolerance. You’ll know when this is!

I find it best to take this in the evening prior to sleep to help with the relaxing effect.

Magnesium truly is a magic mineral that I encourage everyone to try out and incorporate into his or her everyday life.