My Birthday Goals

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May is my birthday month. Each year I use the month of May to nurture myself and to check-in with my life goals. I remind myself to put energy towards manifesting happiness, listening to my gut and treating myself to little pleasures. I believe these yearly reflections help make me a better human. 

This year, I booked a one on one Pilates class on a reformer for my birthday. One day, I plan to have a personal trainer work with me using a reformer weekly (affording this is another goal I am working toward!) I love how this machine is low impact yet challenging, and it's great for improving flexibility. I also love the idea of having a trainer who knows my body and my goals and works with me to achieve results. Finding a coach in life, business or fitness is a great tactic to stay accountable and focused. In the past, I have used friends and family to coach me or I have used podcasts and books for guidance. We can all find affordable ways to build our team of coaches with little cost if we just look for it and take the opportunity when it arises. 

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 In other news, I have set a new goal for this year. Although I am not very flexible now, when I was younger, I could do the splits. Over the years, I haven't kept up with my hip range of motion, and I am no longer able to get flat into the splits. My friend Taylor was a gymnastic queen and she has challenged me to work at it and to get to a full split. I have given myself a year to stretch and practice this position. This photo is my before shot and I’m excited to see what the comparison photo will look like next year. 

As you can see, I like to work away at goals. I find that when I have something to work towards, I can learn so much through the process and I can celebrate once I’ve accomplished it. Little or big, goals help me build the life I desire, and as I mentioned earlier, help me become a better human. 

Happy birthday to me!

Michelle xo

Au Natural Home Remedies to Fight the Common Cold

Cold Remedies

I had my first cold of the winter season two weeks ago. I had made it to (almost) the beginning of spring without any bugs invading my system which made me a little proud. I had some conversations with other people who were dealing with a cold. We discussed ways to tackle the bug and eliminate it without the use of pharmaceuticals. I figured this would be a great topic to write a blog post on. Here are a few of my favourite health hacks and remedies to beat the common cold!

  1. Lemon Ginger Shots- In a mason jar add 1/4 cup of water, 1/4 cup of lemon juice, 2 tablespoon grated ginger (if you don’t want the chunks you can squeeze out the juice but I like the chunks for maximum nutrition), 1 teaspoon turmeric, a pinch of pepper. Put the lid on and shake it well. Keep it in the fridge and take a sip of the mixture 3-5 times daily. Repeat and continue until your symptoms are gone. 

    The Benefits

    Lemon- Full of vitamin C which helps fight off the bug and the congestion. 

    Ginger- Helps to kill viruses and relieves a sore throat.

    Turmeric- Reduces inflammation, reduces symptoms of viruses and treats upset stomach.

    Pepper- Helps alleviate chest congestion and viral infections. 

  2. Elderberry Crystals- This healing berry fights inflammation, infections and helps with fevers. It’s known to relieve a cough and sore throats. 

  3. Oil of Oregano- This oil is very high in antioxidants and is known to help fight bacterial, viral and fungal infections. 

  4. Warm Water with Lemon- Hydration is key. It’s important to continue to flush out your system all day long. The lemon also gives you a kick of Vitamin C. I prefer warm water but room temperature or cold water will work as long as you're getting lots of water in you. 

  5. Vitamin C- You can get this in a tablet or through other fruits and vegetables. I like cuma cuma berry powder in smoothies and including extra broccoli and oranges throughout the day which are packed with Vitamin C. 

  6. Fruits and Vegetables- Eat lots of real whole foods full of nutrients to support your immune system and to fight off the bugs. Limit sugar and processed foods which will cause extra stress on your body. 

  7. Sleep- Get lots of sleep so your body can heal! 

Now you know my favourite health hacks to beat that nasty cold. Feel free to stop by here anytime to remind yourself of these simple but effective tips. I will say, I was able to eliminate all my symptoms (even the runny nose) in less than 5 days and I used these hacks each day! 

Michelle xo

Organizing My Life, My Business And My Health

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I will admit that I am not an organized person, although I try hard to be. I keep a clean home and have designated places for every item in my home, and yet my place often looks "well lived in." This also seems to be a theme in my business. Although I am very passionate and motivated to create a successful business, I struggle to keep organized and on top of my goals, which is why becoming more organized is one of my missions for 2019. I understand that having an organized lifestyle and environment helps my mind feel less cluttered and my body feel healthy. I notice that when my home is in shambles, my attention for my business is scattered. If I don’t plan my fitness goals and meals for the week, I make really poor choices. Even though I know better, I will grab whatever is available when I’m tired and hungry after a long day. This is why I’m determined to get organized while keeping my long term goals in mind.

So, where to begin? I’ve recently teamed up with “The Content Planner” which is a boss babes dream planner. I’ve been able to plan my current and future business, meals and life goals. I’m obsessed with the stickers, the well planned themes and the ideas to create goals in advance. If you don’t have a killer planner, you could also use your calendar on your phone or on your fridge.

It's also important to eliminate all of the useless things in my home. This includes the clothes that I haven’t worn in 10 years and the art pieces I "kinda like." It’s time to de-clutter and get organized in all aspects of my life! Who's with me?

Michelle xo



Infertility, Food Sensitivity and more valuable information with Dr. Sarah

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Did you know that you can track your cervical mucus and basal body temperature as a form of birth control? I didn’t know anything about this until a few years ago, and I can appreciate how many women may want this information, in order to understand their reproductive body better. I am aware that the word "mucus" isn’t the most attractive word but its purpose and power in reproduction is important to understand. Cervical mucus has actual pathways to carry and protect sperm in order to reach an egg. It is a critical component in order to conceive naturally. If cervical mucus is low, or non existent, the chances of conceiving are slim to none. I talk all about this with Dr. Sarah Oulahen Turner, ND in my latest podcast episode. Dr. Sarah also discusses her personal fertility journey which led to her passion in helping other women learn about their bodies, while helping them understand conception and fertility better. 

In the podcast, Dr. Sarah and I also dive into some of my past struggles with poor digestion, food sensitivities and eczema. My health issues improved tremendously when I took an IgG blood food sensitivity test. This test provided me with a list of foods that I am sensitive to and that put lots of stress on my body and impact my health. Through the knowledge of my food sensitivities, I was able to heal my gut by making informed decisions around which foods I ate. My eczema hasn’t come back in over 4 years and my gut issues only flare up when I consume foods that I am sensitive to everyday, versus rarely. I’ve learned an incredible amount from Dr. Sarah and it excites me to share some of that knowledge. Knowledge is truly power, my friends! 

The IgG test has definitely played a key role in my life to achieving better health. If you're interested in the test you can purchase it through my site at www.muvelife.com or email me at michelle@muvelife.com or you can always take a visit to see Dr. Sarah in North York, Toronto. I highly recommend her and I consider her a very important part of my health team!

You can listen below to our conversation. You can also find it on Stitcher, iTunes, Spotify and Google Play.  

Happy learning!

The Podcast Launch

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For the past 10+ years, I’ve been practicing as a Registered Massage Therapist. I have met incredible people, all who have a unique life story and have endured and overcome difficult life situations. I naturally enjoy connecting with others, and sometimes I find myself coaching and motivating my clients. Inevitably, a massage for a client, can end up feeling like a therapy session, for both of us. From this experience, I realized how passionate I am about the journey of self discovery and healing in order to overcome variations of traumas. I wanted to connect with hundreds or thousands of people, rather than one person at a time. This is how my podcast, "Muve Forward" was created.

Last week was the launch of Muve Forward. The podcast is meant to be a source for gathering inspiration, motivation, health and fitness information, and to help build a community for people to share their story, reflect and inspire hope. It was a bit frightening to put my podcast out to the world. I felt somewhat vulnerable in sharing my story and viewpoint on overcoming tragedy, starting a new career and being an entrepreneur. It’s an unknown world with many positive aspects and negative aspects too (such as the potential for being trolled.) Nevertheless, I am excited for this new adventure and looking forward to meeting powerhouse humans that I can learn from and build a tribe with. In just one week I’ve been connected with several incredible people. What a blessing!

I would be truly honoured and grateful for you to listen and subscribe to Muve Forward as well as share it with whoever you feel it may resonate with. You can find Muve Forward on iTunes, Spotify and SoundCloud. I hope the podcast can be a source of inspiration on how to live your best life. If you know anyone who might be a good fit for the podcast, please feel free to send them my way. Cheers!

Michelle xo










Celery Juice

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100% Celery juice drank first thing in the AM on an empty stomach has so many wonderful health benefits! Let me tell you more. I have been experimenting with this juice for the past week because I over indulged during the holidays and I had noticed my digestion was really terrible again and the bloating was pretty bad all day long. Even after the first day of having a 10-15 oz glass of this pure celery juice, I was peeing way more then average and the bloating went down significantly. I’m telling you, there are SO many health benefits to drinking pure celery juice on an empty stomach.

Here’s a few:

  • Celery is a natural diuretic. It helps flush toxins out of the body and as stated above, helps reduce stomach bloat.

  • Celery’s natural sodium content restores the balance of hydrochloric acid in the stomach (this is essential for healthy digestion.) The first drink in the AM on an empty stomach sets you up for easy digestion all day.

  • Celery is an alkalizing food. It reduces acids and toxins in the body while cleansing the liver and bloodstream.

  • Celery is full of antioxidants and polysaccharides which are known to be a great anti-inflammatory which I’m certain can help decrease majority of diseases in this world.

  • Celery has many other minerals which can promote anti-aging, improve hydration and in turn give you glowing skin,

I personally don’t like celery, but i’m able to drink this celery juice without any gaging. Perhaps it tastes better because I serve it from a wine decanter and drink from wine glasses.

Happy juicing!

Michelle xoxo

Celery Juice

Serves: 1

*click on blue text to buy ingredients

prep time: cook time: total time:

ingredients:

  • 1 bunch organic celery (roughly 1 pound)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Remove the butt of the celery bunch. Wash each celery stalk then juice. I use the Champion juicer.
  2. If you don't have a juicer, you can use a high powered blender then you'll need to strain the pulp with a cheese cloth or mess cloth. 

NOTES:

You can store the juice in a glass jar in your fridge for up to 4 days but I always recommend fresh is best! You can also add carrot or cucumber to the juice to improve the taste but when I'm looking to embrace the full effect of the celery cleanse, I suggest just 100% celery.
Created using The Recipes Generator



My 2019 Bucket List

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As 2018 comes to an end, I’m already looking forward to the new year. Although most of you know I’m pretty positive most of the time, this year has been an extremely challenging one. This year has come with so much unpredictability, sorrow and loss. I’m confident 2019 is going to be better. I’ve heard many times that when we are going through challenging times, it often means we are growing and evolving. I’m confident that 2018 was my year of growth and learning, and 2019 will be my year to use that growth to evolve and shine into the giving goddess I’m destined to be. To help make sure of that, I’m creating a one year bucket list filled with various adventures and goals to keep me on track. I thought I'd share a few of the adventures on my list so perhaps you can also think about building a list to crush throughout the year. I’m already so excited and can’t wait to check off things on this list.

  1. Write and publish my first cookbook

  2. Climb the stairs to the CNTower

  3. Attend the ballet

  4. Purchase my second real-estate property

  5. Start my Podcast (it’s so close and should be out early January)

  6. Try arial yoga

  7. Attend several (all least 3) leadership/learning conferences

  8. Get hired for public speaking (this scares the shit out of me which is why I know I have to do it!)

  9. Start my foundation “Maries Kitchen” which provides healthy food for families dealing with cancer (and other life changing illnesses)

  10. Incorporate meditation and my gratitude journal into my daily routine

Is all this attainable? Absolutely! If my dreams and goals change throughout the year and I have to adapt the list, that’s okay, but for now I’m already excited to get started. As I work through this list, I’m going to add more. What are you excited about this year? Comment below!

Michelle xo

Sweet Potato Hash Browns

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These sweet potato hash browns are my favourite way to enjoy sweet potatoes and I thought i’d share this recipe with you all just in time for the holidays. They make a great side to a holiday brunch and you can add these healthy carbs to the top of salads. This recipe is my spicy version however, I’ll also often make it with cinnamon for more of a dessert option. Either way it’s one of my favourite dishes that I like to make for my weekly meal prep. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

I’ve recently been using this handy dandy cast iron handle gripper that I had to tell you all about. It’s such a hand saver because I find my oven mitts are not as safe as they need to be to grab the cast iron handle. As a massage therapist, I can’t get burns, even a little one or I’m out of work for a few days. This handle has given me a piece of mind that I’m safe. If you also need to protect your precious hands from the intense heat of a cast iron pan, you can find this hand tool here.

Sweet Potato Hash Browns

Serves: 2

*click on blue text to buy ingredients

prep time: cook time: total time:

ingredients:

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 385°F
  2. Clean the potatoes and  grate with a cheese grater or in a food processor. 
  3. Transfer grated potato to a medium sized bowl and add remaining ingredients. Stir well. 
  4. Place the mixture into a cast iron pan and place in the oven to cook. Check often and stir every 5-10 minutes. 
  5. If you don't have a cast iron pan you can use any other oven safe dish. Be cautious to stir the hash browns often to be sure they don't burn.
  6. Bake for 30-40 minutes or till desired crispness. 
  7. Enjoy!! 
Created using The Recipes Generator

7 Ways to Improve Digestion During the Cold Winter Months.

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This post is for all of those on the slow digestion team.  As many of you know I have very slow digestion and my gut is sensitive to certain foods and stressors.  During the winter months I also find my digestion and gut health need some extra love and attention.  Over the past few years of really paying attention to my triggers and how I can assist my sluggish bowels, I’ve come up with a few tricks that keep me feeling good and helps the food move along smoothly through my body while giving the rest of my body the proper nutrients it needs.

  1. Drink warm/hot water. This is my absolute number one suggestion. Drinking more water in general will aid in proper digestion. Drinking warm water is key especially during the colder months because it too helps with digestion.  Our insides are warmer then room temperature and when we consume anything cold it can shock the bowels and slow down digestion. Think of what happens when a river starts to freeze, it slows right down but when it warms up in the spring it melts and it flows beautifully.  

  2. Eat heated/cooked foods. Again as mentioned with the water, consuming warm things will aid in proper digestion and help those bowels to move things along.  I love a good salad but during the winter I switch to more stir-frys so the food is heated and cooked.  Eating raw vegetables does provide more natural digestive enzymes so often I’ll add a few pieces of raw spinach or kale to the top of the stir fry.  

  3. Avoid over eating.  Give your gut a break and consume less foods during the winter.  Obviously I’m not saying not to eat enough nutrients, however I try to avoid eating too many snacks and I stop eating just before I get full.  It’s a lot of work for our bodies to process food and often in the winter we’re not as active so we don’t need to give our bodies extra stress with too much food.  

  4. Drink Herbal teas. Many herbal teas are known for decreasing bloating and aid in digestion.  You can find teas that have a combination of great digestive spices but some of my favourite include peppermint, ginger, chamomile, hibiscus and I often add a sprinkle of cinnamon too. My girl Taylor just recently launched her loose leaf tea company www.cupofte.com and she has many of these great options and so many more. Stay tuned for a collaboration we might be working on. 

  5. Limit liquids when eating. Our bowels have a powerful digestive acid which breaks down the food we consume. When we dilute it with other liquids, it’s not going to be as affective and it may cause for less food to be broken down. Drink your water and teas 20 minutes before or after your meals rather than when you’re actually consuming the food.  

  6. Take your time. With our busy schedules these days, sitting down and taking your time to eat a meal can be easily pushed aside. It’s important to take the time to chew each bite properly as well as enjoying food in a comfortable low stress environment. Stress of any kind causes less digestion so find a nice cozy spot, sit back, relax and enjoy the nutrients you’re consuming. 

  7. Get active. Get outside or head to the treadmill and get a 20 minute walk or workout post meals. I find movement the best way to help things move along. I’ve been known to dance and jump around (even in a restaurant bathroom stall) to help move along a meal. 

So there you have it, my 7 favourite digestion tips I use during the winter months. Many I also use all year round but I definitely incorporate these more while it’s cold.  I can honestly tell you that it’s been helping me soo much and I feel much less bloating, and no pain or other IBS symptoms compared to previous winters.  Cheers to happy healthy digestion!

Michelle xo 

Beating the Winter Blues

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It’s November and if you’re living here in Canada, you’re likely preparing for the cold winter days. To some people that may sound like a cozy dream, but for myself and many others who live in this climate, it can feel like a nightmare. 

With reduced hours of sunshine, freezing cold winds and the stress of driving in white outs, you may find yourself with the winter blues. It’s very common and can cause symptoms of depression if not recognized and treated. For my own emotional health (and yours), I’ve come up with a few tips on how to reduce the risk of developing the winter blues and how to even enjoy the winter season. 

  1. Utilize Day Light

    As much as possible, try to find that sunlight. Open your blinds when you wake up, sit by the window as you drink your morning coffee, take a walk in the daylight on your lunch break and try to find pockets of time where you can be in the sunshine.

  2. Sunlamps/glasses

    Sunlamps are meant to have a positive impact on your melatonin levels which is a hormone that controls your wake and sleep cycles. This impact will improve your sleep patterns thereby giving you more energy and mood regulation. A company called the Luminette have kindly sent me some sun glasses that have the beneficial lighting (similar to the sunlamps.) I find them very convenient to use while I’m getting ready in the morning. 

  3. Exercise

    I’m very passionate about movement and I do believe it improves your mood, especially in the winter. Yoga, cycling, dancing, walking, are ways to move your body and release your endorphins (the happy hormones.) Getting outside with the fresh air is likely better but remember it’s also beneficial to exercise indoors or in the dark (perhaps a bit more fun in the bedroom too 😉) 

  4. Vacation

    If your budget and time allows, plan a vacation in a warm destination. If that’s not an option for you, plan a "stay-cation" or a weekend getaway somewhere close. Get creative and plan ahead. Having something fun to look forward to can be just as exciting as the adventure. 

  5. Get outside

    Head outdoors for a walk, preferably in the sunlight, and consider inviting a friend to walk with you on a routine basis. Having a friend come with you can help keep you accountable while carving out time for important social interaction. 

  6. Goals or projects 

    Purge, paint, clean your closet, start a project, have something fun and positive to work on. This will help keep your mind busy, and hopefully the outcome is extra enjoyable once complete. 

  7. Plan an outdoor adventure 
    Snow shoeing, skiing, skating, building a snowman are just a few of the fun adventures that can only be done during the winter months. Embrace the beauty of the season and when it’s way too snowy and windy to get out, cozy up, get comfortable and enjoy a great movie.  

  8. Pay attention to what you're consuming

    Surround yourself with people who are positive and fun, listen to upbeat music and/or podcasts with a good message (stay tuned for my amazing podcast coming out in a couple of weeks!) My sister and I were shopping recently and she was specifically looking for a book that was funny, positive and uplifting because she knew she needed to read this type of content lately. Take note of how you're feeling daily and pay attention to when you need to consume more positive messaging. 

Unless I decide to pick up my life and move to an island down south, it looks like I’m going to have to deal with the cold for another season. I’m looking forward to including these tips in my day and hopefully enjoy the winter months more then I did last year. I hope you're all able to do the same. 

Cheers to the snowy season. May it be bright; may it be fun; may it be very, very short! 

Michelle xo

My 7 Day Sugar Detox

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I recently completed a seven day detox where I eliminated all natural and refined sugars with the exception of 1-2 servings of fruit a day. After a long summer with too many indulgences, I knew it was time to complete the dreaded sugar detox to get back on track. My body gives me signs when it’s not happy with how I am eating. The signs are feeling lethargic, irritable and itchy. I will find patches of eczema on my skin; I will suffer from a variety of allergies; and I will feel super bloated. These symptoms are a total drag but they are simply a sign that my body is communicating, such as "wake up! It's time to heal your gut." This is when I know a detox is in order along with some extra TLC. It can be challenging to keep myself accountable to a detox. This is why I told my followers and made a YouTube video. Just like a child, I needed a good reason to follow through and not succumb to the dangers of cravings. I couldn’t let you all down!

In order to complete the full 7 days of the sugar detox, I first removed all temptations from my home. I made sure that my boyfriend knew what was up so that he could back off the desserts this week too (he has a sweet tooth like me.) I made lots of delicious meals ahead of time so I could fill up on nutrients, and I prepared meals to go when I was heading out the door to start my day. The first three days I was tired and more irritable then usual. My head felt “full” on day two, like the beginning of a headache. I took it easy and I didn’t push myself too hard with my workouts. On day six and seven my energy level was really high. I crushed through some tough workouts and my mood was so positive. I experienced no itching nor allergies at this time.  

I’m not saying I’ll completely eliminate sugar for life (although that would be super healthy) but I will strive to be consistently mindful of how I consume unnecessary sugar. I’ve cut back on my daily cookie intake to less than 1 cookie per week (which is a big deal because I’m a total cookie monster.) Sadly my typical “healthy” cookies do have lots of sugar so it was time to cut back. I know my long term health will improve greatly from eating less sugar and I’m happy to know that when I put my mind to it, even when it's hard, I have the power to say NO to sugar! 

If you're wanting to try a sugar detox and interested in knowing the food I ate and more information about the process, you can watch my videos below. Grab a friend and give it a try! Your body will love you! 




5 Steps To Simplify Your Plant Based Meals

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It seems to me that more and more people are "going" plant based/vegan or at least incorporating more plant based foods into their daily diet. My number one recommendation is have fun with it and to place the focus on including lots of nutrients rather than on what you can and can’t eat. Filling your body with the nutrients it needs to heal and thrive really is the most important point. I have heard many people express their worry over not getting enough to eat if they go plant based, so I’ve compiled these five points to simplify plant based meals:

  1. Plan Ahead/Meal Prep

    Create a weekly plan, shop for all the items and set aside time to prepare meals or sides. I like to meal prep on Sundays or Mondays. This helps me have lots of healthy food choices throughout the week which lowers my chances of snacking on processed foods. I feel less stressed when I know I have options in the fridge when I need to make a quick meal.  Keeping some cut up veggies in the fridge with a hummus or beet dip helps to have a go-to snack when I need it. Again, this is a great healthy option that prevents me from grabbing for processed foods. 

  2. Left Overs

    I have always been a big fan of left overs! The flavours are more enjoyable and satisfying the following day and it's a ready-made homemade meal that takes no preparation. It’s such a time saver, and time is precious!  

  3. Google It

    Google has everything, including healthy plant based recipes. If you have a recipe that you love but you’d like to have it plant based or incorporate more nutrient dense foods into the recipe, google it. I guarantee there will be many options for you. 

  4. Less Stress, Keep It Simple

    I recently posted a blog about keeping it simple but I’d like to bring it up again. It’s amazing how many people stress over how difficult it is to eat plant based. Although this is true, it can be simplified. Take your basics, have a few staple meals you're happy with, and from there you can add more options. Stressing about it can cause increased likelihood for failure and resentment. If you remember the other points listed in this blog then hopefully you can plan ahead and create more of a sustainable process for the long term. 

  5. Freeze It

    Along with meal prepping and left overs, I love, love, love, to utilize the freezer. I’ll freeze meals so it’s as simple as pulling food out of the freezer and heating it in the oven or on the stove (I don’t like to use microwaves.) If I have left overs that I know won't get eaten in time, I’ll put them in the freezer rather than wasting them or leaving them to go bad in the fridge. You can pre-make and freeze veggie lasagnas, casseroles, burgers (all sorts of meals) and then pop it in the oven for a hearty, healthy, no prep meal.

For more tips on how to eat a healthy plant based diet you can head over to my YouTube channel or check out my Ebook which includes my 10 favourite health tips that I live by! Plant based/Vegan may not be for everyone but it is definitely important to include more nutrient dense foods into your everyday diet. 

Cheers to a happier, healthier you! 

Michelle xo

The Power of Judgement

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Judgement. It’s such a powerful feeling that can hold you back from so many wonderful things that you could be accomplishing. Judgement can be felt from your family, friends, strangers and yourself in many ways.

I recently had a dream where I was feeling uncomfortably judged by a friend who has a lot of opinions. The dream felt very real and I woke up feeling angry and frustrated at myself for allowing this judgement on my life to affect me. Mind you, this wasn’t a real life encounter, it was a dream. When I thought about the dream, I realized I was manifesting this reaction due to past situations where I felt judged by this person. I also came to realize that it’s up to me to feel confident about my life, my decisions and my journey.

Being a blogger/influencer, I often have moments where I second guess posting a picture or information with my viewers due to the fear of judgement from people. It’s incredible however, how the posts that I'm most hesitant to share seems to have the most impact on others. Often these posts are the ones that have connected me with more people who, rather than judged me, found common ground and support in what I had to say.

Now I could ramble on and on about examples in my life but moral of the story is that judgement can hold a power so strong that it can stop you from reaching for the stars, living your most authentic life and developing your most personal growth. Always go for your dreams, your desires, your passions. Dance like no one is watching, sing like no one is listening and try to live every moment without the trappings of judgement. Live YOUR life, for YOU. Now go get it. 

Love, Michelle



Moving Forward

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You may have noticed my absence from social media lately. Perhaps if you're from my hometown, you know of the tragedy my family has been through. It’s never easy to lose a loved one, yet it can feel extra devastating when it’s a child. After spending many valuable days with my family, it seemed strange to jump right back into my normal routine: work, friends, working out, posting on social media (mostly Instagram.) It’s been important to focus on taking each day slowly and mindfully while taking time to heal and support one another. 

I’ve been thinking about starting a podcast that is focused on moving forward after the experience of tragedy. I am excited to use the podcast as a tool to share the stories of amazing people who have created a life, a business, a perspective - something incredible - after dealing with a life altering event. It’s the typical super hero story when someone uses their struggle to become a powerful healer and protector of others. Super heros are among us at all times, but they are not always recognizable (particularly without the spandex and masks!) 

Life is truly unpredictable and can be very painful. Although this won't change, we can try to use our life experiences in positive ways. Stay tuned for my podcast, and if you know any incredible individuals who have turned tragedy into some form of success, send them my way. I’d love to interview them and share their stories with others who may need encouragement and inspiration during times of struggle. Sending big hugs and lots of love to all people who may be struggling right now. I wish you peace and comfort and the awareness of your capability to move mountains.

Michelle Wolfe

What's All The Hype About The Magic Mushrooms?

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Lately I’ve been obsessed with my newest favourite superfood: mushrooms.  Although, these aren't the psychotropic kind of mushrooms, they will still make you trip out over their incredible health benefits. "Four Sigmatic" has created delicious elixirs, hot chocolates and coffee to help you get the health benefits without the mushroom taste. The fungi used in these drinks are not the typical button mushrooms or portobello mushrooms. These mushrooms are found in the wild where pollution hasn’t touched them. They’ve been used for medicinal purposes for over 4,000 years and continue to show incredible health benefits. Each mushroom plays a role in restoring your overall balance while stimulating and improving a variety of functions in your body. Listed below are four of the powerful fungi and their benefits.

Chaga - Immune-boosting! Chaga mushrooms help reduce inflammation and fight off viral or other infections. They are packed with antioxidants and great for auto-immune diseases such as arthritis. 

Reishi - Stress reducing! Reishi mushrooms help with hormonal regulation, help improve sleep and help calm the body. It's great when you need some relaxation and calmness in your day.

Cordyceps - Energizing! Cordyceps mushrooms give your cells fuel and energy! This is great for active people who would benefit from a natural workout booster. It also helps speed up recovery. Cordyceps helps those with asthma and other respiratory conditions as well. 

Lion’s Mane - Brain Power! Lion's Mane mushrooms improves concentration and memory. This is great for when you're studying or working as it helps you feel more alert and able to concentrate. Lion's Mane also plays a role in the prevention of Alzheimers, Parkinson’s and other neurological diseases. I personally love the flavour of this one and my boyfriend Neil just wrote a very important exam and aced it! He drank the Lion’s Mane every day for over a week before the big day. He feels he had much more concentration and memory benefits! He’s a firm believer the magical mushrooms!

If you're a coffee lover, Four Sigmatic have you covered with the mushrooms mixed right into your morning brew. Although it’s best to consume everything in moderation, you can drink these mushrooms any time of day. With many different forms of hot or cold drinks, there is lots of variety. You can visit Four Sigmatic website for more information and use my discount code muvemushrooms for a 10% discount. Cheers and happy healing! 

Keep It Simple Stupid!

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I mean this with love and kindness. When I talk about eating right and living a healthier lifestyle some people become easily discouraged. I promise you, it doesn’t have to be a headache. If this topic is overwhelming to you, just start simple. Start with a few of the basics each day and in no time a health routine will become your new normal. Your body will thank you greatly.

Okay, so you're wondering what are the basics? Here's my easy list of must do's. 

  1. Move your Body. Sounds simple, because it is! You may not realize that by exercising regularly, you’ll have more energy through the day and sleep better at night.

  2. Drink lots of water. I still hear people struggling with this. Water is a necessity for life. We need water to thrive. When you drink enough water (at least 8 glasses per day), you will find many improvements in your body functions as well as in your skin, hair and nails.

  3. Reduce refined sugars and packaged foods. That stuff is filled with harmful crap anyway. Clearly you want to limit it for endless reasons.  

  4. Add more real foods (aka: fruits and veggies.) They’re filled with the food that your cells, muscles, brain (your entire body) wants and needs to function properly and reduce your chance of illness. Just add more of them already!!!  

  5. Sleep. If you're not sleeping, figure out why. Sleep is important to repair your body from the damage that is done daily. Perhaps you're not sleeping due to a vitamin deficiency that your ND can help you determine and treat. Perhaps you need to limit your screen time close to bed or maybe you need to sleep alone. Whatever it may be, I highly suggest you investigate, problem solve and get your precious zzz’s. 

So, that’s my five cents for the day. Living and eating a different way then your normal can seem challenging but it really doesn’t have to be. I guarantee you’d rather make your health a priority by choice now, rather than by force later. 

Are you ready to make it a priority?  

Which Oils Should We Eat and When?

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With all the information out there about different oils, it can be hard to keep straight what oils are good for you and what oils may be harmful. Without getting too technical, I want to offer up my two cents on oil options.

Three things you want to look for when choosing an oil: 

       1. How is the oil processed?

Some vegetable oils are heavily processed in order to increase their shelf life. This will often mean that these processed oils are high in trans fats. It is important to be mindful of this as there has been indication that oil high in trans fat can get lodged in your arteries and increase your risk of heart disease. 

       2. What happens to the oil at different temperatures? 

When certain oils are heated, they become oxidized, which is a process where free radicals react with oxygen. Basically, the elements in the oil have changed and the affect on your body can be harmful and potentially cause inflammation. Inflammation will always cause an increased risk of developing acute and chronic health conditions.

       3. Does the oil have useful nutrients and a balanced omega ratio?

The oil you consume should have healthy fats, which can provide a variety of health benefits. You want to be mindful of the ratio between the omega 3 and omega 6 fats. Omega 3 has anti-inflammatory tendencies while omega 6 has pro-inflammation tendencies. While your body does need both types of omega, keeping your omega 3 and 6 ratio balanced will help lower chronic inflammation. 

Oils I try to stay away from: 

Soybean oil, corn oil, vegetable oil and canola oil.

Most restaurants will cook with these oils because of their lower price point so be mindful how often and how much you're consuming. 

My favourite oils and when I use them:

  • Virgin olive oil is great to use for salads and sauces because it’s filled with nutrients and great flavour. I will not cook with this oil because of it’s low smoke point of 320°F.
  • Virgin coconut oil is great for baking foods because it can withstand a slightly higher temperature of 350°F without becoming harmful. It also contains antiviral, antibacterial and antioxidant properties which is why I love using this as my massage oil. 
  • Avocado oil has a smoke point of 520°F so it’s always my choice when I’m frying or sautéing foods. It’s also high in vitamin E. 

Now that you have some awareness about oils, be sure to read the labels of all packaged foods you're eating. You will be shocked to learn how many foods have harmful oils within their ingredients.

My Tricks for Eliminating Bloat

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The first time that I remember having stomach pains and bloating was when I was 9. My mom had recently passed away and my eating habits had drastically changed. I can remember feeling full all the time and I would have to leave my figure skating lessons early because of the pain. I thought the pain was from my leggings being too tight and pushing on my stomach. 20-something years later, I finally feel like I have a better understanding of why I was bloated then and how I can help my sensitive tummy now.  

Here is a list of the factors that cause me to bloat and make me look 6 months pregnant.  

1. Food sensitivities:

By doing blood work, my naturopath discovered that many foods I was eating daily were triggering bloat in my body. Some of these foods are avocado, tomato, oatmeal, wheat, nuts and seeds. Even though these foods are healthy, my body was becoming sensitive to them. When I eat these foods for a few days in a row or if I eat too much of these foods at once, my body reacts with bloat. I really need to limit these foods in order to enjoy them, and I try to be more mindful to eat a range of foods in moderation as I know how sensitive my body can become when I eat too much of one thing. 

2. Lack of movement:

My body needs to move! When I don’t move enough, my digestion is stagnant and food will sit in my gut and weigh me down. Without movement, food will build up gasses and ferment inside my body (which is gross to think about – imagine, food inside your intestines for days!) When I move my body, I can feel the food, air and water moving inside and through the intestinal tract. This is one of the reasons why I named my blog MUVE. (Move was too boring which is why I changed the spelling.) If I happen to eat more than I should have or if I eat a food that seems to have caused bloating, I will go for a brisk walk, dance around, jump up and down, MUVE for 15-20 minutes. This tactic always helps to aid in better digestion for me.

3. Temperatures: 

My slow digestion becomes even slower in the winter and on cold days. Naturally, my body is cold in cold climates or if I ingest cold water or food. To help warm my body, I drink water that’s either room temperature or warm to hot. It’s soothing and keeps things moving inside me. In the winter especially, I’ll typically eat only warm heated foods. For years I would eat cold foods and never understand why I would bloat after eating a salad. Now that I’ve experimented more, I find a warm stirfry or soup is a better option during a cold day. In the summer when it’s hot outside and when I’m more active, I can tolerate colder foods and it won’t affect me as much. Having a glass of warm water 30 minutes after I eat has become a new habit that seems to help my digestion as well. A little tip… drinking water with your meal will dilute the acid in your stomach which will slow the digestion and absorption of nutrients so try to drink water at least 30 minutes before or after your meals. 

4. Portion sizes:

How often do you feel like your full, yet you keep eating? I used to eat everything on my plate no matter how full I felt because I hate wasting food, and I love to eat. This becomes a problem for someone like me who has slow digestion. It’s already hard work to move a regular meal through my intestines but giving it more food then it needs will take even longer, cause more bloating and discomfort and weight gain. If I’ve eaten a big lunch, I will make my dinner smaller, and if I’m satiated at the time of my meal, I will leave food on the plate. I’d rather not eat it then feel like crap from being too full and bloated. If I want to try a dessert, I will have a few bites and leave the rest. Once I’ve tasted it, that’s often all I need. I know that eating the whole thing will unnecessarily fill me up, so I take a few bites and leave the rest or share with friends. 

5. Chronic Stress:

Your body has a natural way of responding to perceived threats, whether the threats are big or small. A combination of nerve and hormonal signals will prompt your adrenal glands, located above your kidneys, to release hormones that will elevate your blood pressure and increase your heart rate. This helps give your body a boost of energy in order to deal with an acute stressor. The hormones released in stressful situations, will suppress the digestive system and impact your mood and motivation. Luckily, the body’s stress response is self regulating and once the possible threat has passed, hormonal levels will return to normal and your body will continue to function as needed. Unfortunately, if you experience chronic stress, these hormone levels will consistently be elevated and can cause lasting havoc on the body. As noted above, stress will suppress your digestive system, as well as have a negative effect on motivation. This combination alone is a cause for bloating. Although I don’t think I’m a stressed individual naturally, I have definitely come across some stressful situations in my life which may be impacting my body. I have read books and listened to podcasts that have helped me learn more about how to deal with stressful situations. I learned that it’s very important to take more time for ME! I also practise yoga and breath work to help with stress. Being mindful of your stress levels and actively choosing ways to help with de-stressing can make a big difference on your tummy and overall health. If and when possible, choose to stress less! 

6. Gut Flora:

Your gut flora can have a huge impact on absorption of food and whether or not you will have bloating. Choosing real foods and limiting/eliminating processed foods will help promote good gut health. All the other things listed above will also play a factor in optimizing your gut flora but there are a few other things I like to include to ensure I keep the bacteria in my gut balanced. I take probiotics which help with adding good bacteria. I practice intermittent fasting which gives my gut the time to process foods and heal my gut between. I drink apple cider vinegar and other fermented foods which are known to help maintain a healthy gut. They say your gut is like a second brain for your body and it’s extremely important for optimal health. This topic is definitely needing its own blog post but for now, know that each of the other factors I’ve listed will help promote good gut health.  

Of course, every individual is different which means we all have different foods and stressors that could be causing bloating. Above are the things that I find are important for me and my gut. If you’ve been dealing with bloating and are unsure where to start, I’d suggest taking a look at the list above to see if there are any commonalities. I also suggest continuing your own research and experimentation, talking to a naturopath or another health practitioner. Keeping a food or emotional diary of your day can help you determine where your stressors are and how to manage them. If you experience bloating, you can take a look back at your diary and perhaps see a common denominator. Just remember that bloating is often something that can be prevented or at least limited once you know your triggers. Message me below to let me know what are your bloating triggers?

Sending you love while you continue your journey of health and wellness! 

Love, Michelle

My Toronto Restaurant Guide for Healthy, Delicious Grub

The experience of dining out is something I've always wanted to include in my lifestyle. I remember telling my friends that one day I would meet a guy who would want to dine out at least once a week (but hopefully more.) This isn't because I don't enjoy cooking, but because I love the atmosphere and ambience of restaurants, I love enjoying the experience of sharing company of those I care about, and I love not having to run around preparing, making and cleaning up the meal (obviously.) It's definitely a privilege to be able to dine out and I'm so thankful that I am able to do so, while living in a fabulous city with so many great food options to choose from. Although I love to try out new places, it's not practical for me when I eat only certain foods, and I have high expectations for the quality of the food I eat. This is why I tend to stick to my favourite restaurants. Below I've included my top six restaurants in Toronto. 

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Soft chocolate chip cookies are my weakness!!  

1. Impact Kitchen. This restaurant is a favourite of mine with a simple but nutrient packed menu. It's based on the need for pure whole foods and nutrients to feed your body.  This place is friendly to both vegans and meat eaters. My favourite finds here include, the Zesty Mexican Power Bowl, the weekend brunch waffles, the green medicine smoothie and the Chocolate Cookie which is infused with chocolate goodness. 

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Impact Kitchen has so many delicious options!  

2. Fresh. This is a fully vegan restaurant with an enormous menu with multiple options of salads, burritos, bowls, burgers, smoothies and juices. They also have some deep fried options such as their quinoa onion rings which are so delish, especially dipped in their famous hot sauce! My overall picks at Fresh include the corn bread, all star salad, squash tacos, bbq burger (which is topped with their onion rings) and the "all green" juice. Also, I was so impressed with their hot chocolate that it inspired me to create one similar (you can find the recipe here.) They also have various sweets from a delicious sweet company called Sweets From the Earth. 

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If you happen to like carrot cake, you must leave room for a slice at Fresh. It's incredible! 

3. Planta. This fully vegan restaurant is classy, fun and has some incredible, unique flavours. With a bit of a higher price point, it's somewhere that I go to for special occasions. My favourite items so far include, the "crab" cakes, planta burger and eggplant lasagna which has a delicious smoky flavour. The truffle fries are a must and they often have featured meals and sweets that are always satisfying. If you stop by, be sure to bring your camera for their instagram worthy plates and atmosphere.  

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This is half the Planta smoky lasagna. I often share so I can try several dishes each visit. 

4. Live. This is another fully vegan restaurant with raw and cooked food options.  Although I adore their menu, due to the unique combinations I know my non vegan friends wouldn't enjoy it as much as some of the other picks. Live also offers food to buy in grocery stores or online which I'm a huge fan. My favourites include their sweet potato noodle salad, their green or chipotle wraps, curry pumpkin nori crunch snacks and cheesy flavoured cracker chips. 

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If you enjoy kimchi I'd suggest these mung bean pancakes. 

5. Calii Love. I've only been to this Californian inspired healthy spot two or three times but it's clear all the items are made with real food. You can make your own salad bowl with your favourite toppings or you can enjoy one of their featured creations. I recommend the "Inspired" bowl. All the bowls are named with expressions of positive feelings so when you order your food the staff will yell "I'm feeling... Inspired" which is a very positive and fun way to communicate with the chefs.  

6. Simple Kitchen. This is similar to Impact Kitchen but on a smaller scale. They have very simple meals that are rich in nutrient dense whole foods. They have a great menu with both brunch and dinner options. You can make your own plate with protein, veggies and carbs of your choice. I love the chia bowls which you can build your own creation with different fruits, nut butters and other healthy toppings.  

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So simple, clean, real and delish!! 

Photo credit: Simple Kitchen Instagram

So these are my 6 main healthy food spots I like to enjoy. I'm feeling pretty hungry now as I think about all my favourite foods and restaurants, and I am already planning where I'll be going tomorrow.  If you try out any of these options or if you have any healthy spots that you enjoy in the city, be sure to comment down below.  I'd love to add a few more options to my list!  

Happy eating! 

Michelle Wolfe

Adventures & Good Food in Barcelona

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When I was 18 and fresh out of high school, I had no clue who I was or what I wanted to do. So I did what felt right and what I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to do... I left our family farm, the only home I’ve ever known, and moved to Mallorca, Spain. I moved in with my grade 6 pen pal and her family, and it was the beginning of my love of travel and culture!  

After losing my mom to cancer at the age of 8, I found myself becoming close with my friends' mothers and anyone else mirroring the motherly figure. I became extra close with the mother I lived with in Spain. She grew up with a chef in the family and had learned many skills in the kitchen, and so when I lived with her, she was delighted to teach me some of those skills. I truly believe her passion for good cooking rubbed off on me, and I’m thankful to have had the experience of cooking with her and in a culture much different then the one I was raised with.  

I recently had another amazing opportunity to travel back to Spain with a good friend Taylor.  She asked me to join her and I was more then willing to travel back to this beautiful country and to experience it as an adult.  

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I still dream about the incredible food I ate when living in Spain many years ago. I like to seek out healthy food options when I travel and so I was pleased when my Spanish friend Clara shared a list of vegan & vegetarian restaurants in Barcelona which happened to be close to our hotel. Of course I had to give them a try!  

During this recent trip, I stayed at Le Meridian right on Las Ramblas, one of the busiest and friendliest streets in Barcelona.  We ate good food, drank sangria and walked all over this beautiful city. Each day, I’d wake up early and workout at the hotel before Taylor was awake. I would take a quick peek outside to see what the weather was like and then stop into one of my favourite health stores, Vega Raw Organic, for some healthy snacks or presents to take home to family. Some days I would stroll through the side streets, mesmerized by the outstanding architecture, and pick up freshly backed pastries that were light and tasty. The pastries didn’t make me feel sick and heavy after eating them, which makes me wonder what is in the pastries in Canada? Once I’d get back to the hotel and cleaned up, Taylor would be keen and ready for another day of adventure.  

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Kale and Flax was my favourite restaurant in the city and I could have ate there for every meal. It’s packed with healthy salads, fresh veggie juices and delicious vegan sweets. Many days I’d start with my first meal here because it was nice and close to Le Meridien.  

I was happily surprised to find Lazia, a restaurant with one of the best veggie burgers I’ve ever had. Although I don’t normally eat buns with a burger, the homemade bread was full of flavour and perfectly complemented the burger. The vegan brownie is also mouth watering. Happily, this restaurant was literally across the street to our hotel so it was an easy go-to after a long day of sight seeing. 

Paella is a famous Spanish dish with rice, simple vegetables and often seafood or chicken. I did enjoy a few paella skillets but nothing as delicious as the recipe I remember from my Spanish family. If you're heading to Spain, you must try this dish but perhaps ask the locals where to find the best paella in the area you are staying.  

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Sagrada Familia is a "must do" in this ancient city. I highly recommend stepping inside and taking in this architectural masterpiece. Park Guell is also a lovely spot to stroll and take in some beautiful scenery over looking the city.  All in all, I highly suggest taking some time to just stroll the streets, perhaps walk down along the water front and enjoy the cafe’s restaurants and astounding architecture. Barcelona is definitely one of my favourite cities in the world! 

One night after a few pitchers of Sangria, I piggybacked Taylor who has quadriplegia to the sea. You can see this emotional night along with many more adventures and shenanigans in my YouTube video.

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