Category: health and fitness

Snacking Made Healthy with Spokes

Snacking, despite its bad reputation, is actually quite important for our body. It helps keep our metabolism up and can actually help with weight loss goals. Many people have even shown that it is actually better for weight loss to eat several small meals a day spaced out every 2 to 3 hours. I swear by this rule and it has helped improve my physical well-being and aided in weight loss.

Where people tend to go wrong is what they are snacking on. We want our snacks to be easy to prepare but sometimes this can lead us to choose options that are not so healthy and full of empty and not so good calories. But we all get that craving for chips now and then (trust me I know!) and I think it’s so important to balance out our diet so we don’t cheat and feel worse afterwards.

Snacking Made Healthy with Spokes

Spokes, puffed potato snacks, are that perfect alternative for snacking that lets you feel like you are being bad but you aren’t because it so much better for you than other snacks like chips.

Spokes are a light, crunchy potato snack that is air puffed (no frying in oil here), lightly misted with oil and seasoned for their delicious taste. They taste delicious and are quite addictive (I am munching away on a bag of Barbecue Spokes as I am typing). One cup of Barbecue Spokes equals only 40 calories with 8gm of carbs and only 1gm of sugar. The brand is available in nine different flavours, including: Sea Salt, Mango Habanero, Sea Salt and Vinegar, Barbecue, Dill Pickle, Salt and Pepper, Fiesta Salsa, Sea Salted Caramel and Simply Bare.

Snacking Made Healthy with Spokes

Top nutritional benefits:

  • free of 11 major allergens including: dairy, gluten, wheat, soy and egg
  • no artificial preservatives or colours
  • no trans fat or cholesterol
  • Non GMO project verified
  • 40 calories per a cup

Besides tasting delicious, I loved the fact that they were created by a Canadian Mom who wanted better snack options for her family. Moms are pretty creative when it comes to keep our families healthy! She definitely developed quite a hit – I struggled with just having one cup. They were full of flavour and had that crunch that you are craving especially in the afternoon. The best part was that I felt guilt free munching on them because of how healthy they were.

Snacking Made Healthy With Spokes

You can learn more about Spokes on their website. Spokes are sold in many retailers across Canada including: Whole Foods, Goodness Me!, Planet Organic, Blush Lane, Safeway, Sobeys (Western Canada), Thrifty Foods, Metro (Quebec), London Drugs and Bed, Bath & Beyond. To locate the nearest retailer, head over to their handy retailer locator on their website.

Make sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up to date and learn more about this healthy snack.

Disclosure: I received the above named product in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Interactive Brushing with Grush Smart Toothbrush

Interactive Brushing with Grush Smart Toothbrush

We all know how important brushing our teeth is and we know our children know this too but it doesn’t always translate to proper brushing two to three times a day. We also know many times they aren’t brushing for the required amount of time and are relying on dental visits for thorough cleanings.

How many times have you fought with your child over brushing their teeth? Or have they lied to you that they went in the bathroom and brushed their teeth? Or you looked at their teeth and can tell that they tried to brush them properly but they missed so many spots (got to love juice stains)!

Interactive Brushing with Grush Smart Toothbrush

The Grush Smart Toothbrush combines technology and interactive fun to help your child learn how to properly brush their teeth for the right amount of time PLUS it gives you feedback on their brushing. This toothbrush is a parent’s best friend!

Interactive Brushing with Grush Smart Toothbrush

The Grush Smart toothbrush kit comes with three removable brushes and rotates at the push of a button. The toothbrush uses bluetooth technology to connect to the Toothy Castles app on your phone. The app is interactive and can detect where your child is brushing – right down to the specific tooth and location (front and back). Once the two minutes is up (which feels like a long time but with the game it makes those two minutes short and fun as you try to gain as many points as possible), you can track their current session to see how well they brushed and compare it to previous brushing sessions.

Interactive Brushing with Grush Smart Toothbrush

The brush itself fits perfectly into a child’s hand and is soft with natural curves on the handle to make it more comfortable and easier for their little hands to hold. The app was easy to find and was quick to download on my phone without taking up much space. It is an easy to use app, there really is not any set up which we loved. My son just has to hit play and ensure his brush is in the horizontal position for the app to track his movements. That is all it takes to start the brushing game. We set the phone up on it’s stand so he can easily watch the app and see which tooth he is on and which tooth he should brush next.

Interactive Brushing with Grush Smart Toothbrush

The app itself is perfect for young children – I loved the graphics and sound effects (think of pows and bams from popular superhero cartoons) with motivating music and voice prompts to engage your child. They also collect coins for every time they get the bad guys hanging out on their teeth so our youngest couldn’t wait to beat his scores. At the end of the session, you can view their results of how well they brushed their teeth. We go to the dentist every four months for my boys and I know he has a bit of room for improvement when it comes to brushing, but I was still shocked at how much he had missed, especially on the inside of the teeth. It was a great visual to be able to show him because he can listen to me tell him he missed spots in his mouth but when I can show him which teeth he is missing each time, it is easier for him to understand. I noticed great improvement each and every time he went back to brush his teeth and I strongly belief this is because of the tracking and results that we are able to see at the end of a session.

Interactive Brushing with Grush Smart Toothbrush

My favourite part about the Grush Smart toothbrush? My son had so much fun brushing his teeth, he actually asked me to brush his teeth three times in one day over the weekend. After I got over my shock, we were in the bathroom so he could brush his teeth. Now that is a Mom win!

You can find more information on Grush on their website. You can purchase a Grush Smart Toothbrush on Amazon, Home Depot and Bed, Bath and Beyond.

Make sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for all the latest news and more.

Disclosure: I received the above mentioned product in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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How to Live a Healthy Lifestyle While Keeping Your Sanity with Sundown Naturals®

Living a healthy lifestyle has always been important to me, much more so after having children! After I gave birth to my children I realized that I had to be healthier, not only for myself, but for them too. I had their future to think about. Where would they be without Mom or Dad? But what was a healthy lifestyle and how did I achieve that?

About a year and a half after having my second son, I began feeling tired all the time, my hair was thinning out, and I was just not myself—I knew that something was wrong. While I do deal with depression, I knew that this was above and beyond my normal range of symptoms and that it was important to see my family doctor. After a series of tests, we discovered that I was dealing with a malabsorption issue in my small intestines which was causing me to be deficient in several key vitamins, including Vitamin D, Iron, and B12.

This was a whole new learning curve for me; I had studied various courses during my university years on nutrition and the body, but I was not prepared on how to deal with my vitamin deficiencies and malabsorption. Working with a dietician, we came up with a few great ideas:

Nourish your body with nutrient rich, organic, and (if possible) local food (or even grow your own—gardening is a great stress reliever). We get many of the good things our body need from what we eat, so make every bite count. I know this can be easier said than done as parents. I can’t tell you how many times my meal has consisted of my kids leftovers!

How to Live a Healthy Lifestyle While Keeping Your Sanity with Sundown Naturals®

Get enough exercise—plan it out! If it’s not in my agenda then I tend to ignore that it should be leg day, so having a commitment on a calendar is crucial for me.

Get the right amount of sleep. I know you are probably laughing right now—trust me, a part of me gets it—but getting enough sleep really is important. It will help your body recover and leave you feeling refreshed.

Many times, this is not enough.

Let’s face it—life gets in the way and we can eat improperly at times. We put the focus on our children instead of us and we definitely don’t get the required amount of sleep and nutrients. For myself (and many others), we have to supplement with vitamins and minerals in order for our body to absorb and get what it needs in order to work at top form. A daily regime of vitamins that includes multi-vitamin, iron, B12, Vitamin D, Calcium, and Biotin (I added this in when my hair started to fall out!) was worked out with my dietician, and my blood work is ordered and monitored twice a year to ensure my current schedule is working. Sticking to a healthy, nutrient rich diet is tough because, to be honest, it can be hard to meal plan for the week when you have so much on the go and need to supplement to ensure you’re getting enough.

But how do you choose the right type of vitamin when there are so many different brands?

When I purchase a vitamin, the brand has to meet these must haves:

  • Non-GMO
  • Gluten free
  • Free of artificial flavours, colours, and preservatives

How to Live a Healthy Lifestyle While Keeping Your Sanity with Sundown Naturals®

Sundown Naturals® is built upon the philosophy to deliver 100% goodness, 100% of the time. They sell a range of vitamins to cover your health care needs—from heart health to immune health to energy support. The best part about Sundown Naturals® is that they are 100% GMO free, gluten and dairy free, and free from artificial flavours, colours, and preservatives. They are also the first broad line vitamin brand to be available at your local pharmacy that is 100% Non-GMO.

How to Live a Healthy Lifestyle While Keeping Your Sanity with Sundown Naturals®

With my health conditions, I want and need to ensure that the vitamins I am taking in are high quality and the easiest to absorb for my body. I am confident that each time I take a Sundown Naturals® vitamin, I am taking in the very best to help fuel my body to perform at its best. I am getting all the good stuff without any of the bad stuff. Knowing that I am helping to fuel my body with high quality vitamins to keep it running at its best leaves me feeling confident and at my best.

What is the most important feature you look for when purchasing vitamins and minerals?

Make sure to follow Sundown Naturals® on Facebook to keep up to date with all the latest information, news and more.

Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Sundown Naturals®. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Monkey See, Monkey Do #SmokeFreeMovies

Monkey See, Monkey Do #SmokeFreeMovies

I grew up in a household where my Dad smoked both in the house and outside. To me this was normal, it was part of my every day and it was socially acceptable. One day, my Dad took all three of us kids to the Doctor’s office. As he struggled to get my younger sister out of the car, he asked me to hold his cigarette while he pulled her out – be forgiving with this action, this was the 80s!! Not realizing what I was doing, I started to put the cigarette to my mouth and smoke, thinking how cool I looked and that I was just like Dad. It was the first and only time my Dad got mad at me! He smacked the cigarette out of my mouth, yelling at me about how bad smoking was for my health and that I was still a child. But to me, as a child, I had a hard time understanding: if it was so bad, why did the people who I loved and looked up to smoke? Wasn’t this normal? And it seemed odd coming from my Dad’s mouth that smoking was bad for me, but okay for him. The signals that I was receiving were confusing and contradictory.

Monkey See, Monkey Do #SmokeFreeMovies

Our behaviour is learned from watching others – we learn about norms, how to model correct (and incorrect) behaviour, and what is accepted socially, all from watching our family members, our peers, and those whom we admire and respect. Children and young adults are susceptible to these learnings and may have a harder time deciphering what is healthy and normal and what may be viewed as “cool” and “admirable” is actually unhealthy and detrimental to their health. As a parent, I have learned that it is my job to help guide them as they mature and begin to learn what is normal, what is right and how to make good decisions for their own health and well-being. For my youngest, this may mean restricting what he hears and sees, while for my eldest talking about the ‘why’s’ behind the decisions we are making.

Seeing a person smoking everyday or even casually in a movie or advertisement normalizes smoking. Our most vulnerable population, children and teens, see their idols and celebrities smoking, want to copy their behaviour, to be just like them. They don’t have the skills or the maturity to understand the consequences of smoking and starting so young. My husband started smoking when he was fourteen and struggled to quit at the age of 30 (he has now been smoke free for six years!). One of his greatest regrets, is that he had started so young.

Monkey See, Monkey Do #SmokeFreeMovies

Smoking in movies is now shockingly widespread; and some of the statistics surprised me! 86% of movies with smoking were rated for kids and teens in Ontario. That’s 37% of Ontario youth smokers begin to smoke due to seeing smoking in movies. Scary right? Even scarier is the fact that smoking has become so normal despite the high number of health campaigns showing the risks of smoking. I bet many of you like me, haven’t even noticed this happening during movies.

So how do parents help protect their children when movies aren’t rated to let us know that smoking is in the movie? Public Health Units across Ontario are encouraging parents to sign a petition that will influence movies to be rated as 18A  if they feature tobacco at any point throughout the movie This small step helps us to wisely choose our movies for family time, as well as encouraging movie producers to just not include smoking at all in the film.

As parents, we know first-hand how quickly our children pick up habits (how many of you have said one bad word in the car and that’s it, they are like parrots repeating it everywhere) and we would do anything in our ability and power to protect them and keep them healthy. Signing the petition is one small, but positive step that we as parents can take to help ensure our children are not exposed to unhealthy life choices.

If you are curious about movies titles that may or do contain tobacco, visit the Smoke Free Movies page or the Thumbs Up Thumbs Down page for a complete listing of both tobacco free and tobacco containing movies. To keep up-to-date with all the latest information and status of the petition, make sure to follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

Disclosure: I have partnered with YMC and The Smoke-Free Movies Campaign and have received compensation for this post. All opinions in the post are my own.

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Put an End to Sleepless Nights with Pharmaton® Sleep Harmony™

Put an End to Sleepless Nights with Pharmaton® Sleep Harmony™

Turn to the left…squeeze your eyes tight and pray for some sleep.

Ten minutes later turn to the right…squeeze your eyes tight and please let me sleep!

Forty minutes later give up all hope of sleeping as your mind continuously reminds you of your to-do list, your work list that never seems ending and not to mention the stuff you need to buy for your children as they constantly grow out of their shoes and clothes.

Sound familiar?

I am sure so many of us can relate to having our natural sleep patterns disturbed at some point in our adult lives. Sometimes it is for a night or two but for others mild stress can become a burden and force longer periods of sleeplessness.

Mild stress and anxiety can have a negative impact on so many areas in your life. It can affect your relationships, the way you react to situations (even normal situations that you have dealt with in the past but because of stress your mind can’t think properly) and can even affect your sleep.

For me stress and anxiety cause a lot of disruption to my normal sleep patterns. I find it difficult to fall asleep at night (it can be so brutal to watch everyone else sleeping and there you are tossing side to side, trying to keep your eyes closed and pray for just even a few hours of sleep) and I find it even more difficult to stay asleep for more than four hours at a time.

A lack of sleep can have many negative impacts in your life – it makes me grumpy, irritable and I am less on the ball; I make more mistakes at work and even at home. Ever poured a large amount of cumin into a loaf of banana bread instead of cinnamon? OOPS! But that is how a lack of sleep affects me. Not to mention being far more irritable with my family and becoming quick to anger, this hurts me and them.

So how do we fight back against sleep problems? Try these helpful tips below:

Exercise Daily: I am not talking about heading to the gym for an intense workout but something as simple as going out for a walk on your lunch break, taking the dog out for a walk when you get home from work. Just something simple, relaxing but still gets your heart rate elevated. A little bit of exercise goes a long way for stress relief and relaxing the body. Don’t go overboard with the exercise late at night – that will likely reverse the effects and actually give you more energy. This is definitely not something you want to do if you are already struggling with sleep.

Put an End to Sleepless Nights with Pharmaton® Sleep Harmony™

Eat a healthy, balanced diet: Nutrition goes a long way for making your body and mind feel good and I am a firm believer of this. It can’t work miracles but when you fuel your body with healthy food products you will feel better too. Stay away from alcohol! Honestly, you don’t need the negative effects of it on your body if you are already suffering from restless sleep.

Put an End to Sleepless Nights with Pharmaton® Sleep Harmony™

Practice good sleep hygiene habits: Don’t bring your cell phone and tablet to bed, that is one of the worst things that you could do. It is also one of the habits that I am most guilty of doing. The screen will keep your mind alert and awake and not to mention the constant stress of knowing you have work emails coming through. Your phone becomes like a beacon on your bedside table, “read me just one more time, what harm can it do?” The harm comes easily when you can’t help looking one more time after that and one more time after that! Some nights I find myself working on my blog at two in the morning instead of sleeping and the next day I am mentally and physically exhausted. Or even worse, social media can be a huge distracter when you want to sleep, as you scroll through your feeds one more time or laugh your way through one more meme.

Use a lavender oil on your sheets: I have this great lavender oil spray that I use on my pillows and sheets about twenty minutes before I go to bed. I love the relaxing smell of lavender and it helps to unwind the stress from the day.

If you try all of this and still finding you are having restless sleeps, trying a natural sleep aid can make a huge difference in your life.

Put an End to Sleepless Nights with Pharmaton® Sleep Harmony™

Pharmaton® Sleep Harmony™ is a traditional herbal medicine which has been designed to help calm those racing thoughts and improve our sleep patterns at night. Pharmaton® Sleep Harmony™ is made with a patented essential lavender oil, called Silexan™, which has been shown to help relieve symptoms of mild exhaustion and mild mental stress. The best part (and one I know so many of us worry about), Pharmaton® Sleep Harmony™ is non-habit forming, so your body won’t begin to rely on it for sleep. It also doesn’t leave you with that groggy feeling in the morning that many prescribed medications do. This is the perfect solution for individuals who need a good night’s sleep but don’t want to take prescribed medication that can cause your body to need the medication to fall asleep. Before you start this product, make sure it is the right one for you – read and follow the labels.

Do you suffer from sleeplessness? How do you deal with it and what are your best go to solutions?

Disclosure: I received compensation for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.

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