How I Lost 30 lbs with These 3 Changes I Made to my Diet

You might not know this about me but I gained over 30 lbs in the past 6 years. Not all at once, but slowly and surely it kept creeping on. I would say the weight gain was due to a few factors: moving to the country and not having gym close-by, settling into the routine of commuting 50 min each way to work, entertaining a lot at our new lake house, work stress, life stress, and of course my chronic pain, fatigue, and other health issues affecting my ability and desire to exercise.

I tried many things to help shed the weight and I would lose 10 – 15 lb here and there, but before long I’d fall off track and gain it all back. The thing is I didn’t feel good at this new weight so much so that it affected my self-esteem and way-of-life. My clothes didn’t fit as I liked, I didn’t enjoy going to certain places (like the beach), and don’t have a lot of photos of me on vacations because I didn’t want to be in them. Of course I didn’t expect to look like I did when I was competing, but I just wanted to get to a place that I felt comfortable again.

In January of this year I decided I had enough and had to make some permanent changes to my lifestyle. My inflammation was at an all time high after indulging too much while on vacation and I knew that if I didn’t do something about it now my mental and physical health would be in a bad place. Thankfully my husband was in a similar situation and was also motivated for change.

I had the initial goal of losing 15 lb, which turned into 20, and now 30. I am feeling the best I have in 6 years and am finally feeling comfortable in my own skin again. Today I’m sharing the most significant changes I’ve made to help me achieve my goals. 

The 3 Changes I Made to My Diet:

1) Anti-Inflammatory Elimination Diet

2) Keto (High-Fat/Low-Carb) Lifestyle 

3) Intermittent Fasting

Now before I go into more details about these I feel I should add a little disclaimer because I know what some of you might be thinking. I am not giving this advice as a Dietitian or Nutritionist. I actually resigned my membership this year because I felt my views aligned more with natural and holistic nutrition. I am simply sharing what worked for me. I will go into each of these in more detail in a future post, as well as the science behind them. I’ll talk about the “how” later; today let’s focus on the “what” and “why”. 

Anti-Inflammatory Elimination Diet:

The elimination diet is what started this whole journey for me. Despite the weight-gain my main goal was to decrease my inflammation and chronic fatigue so I could get back to living my life as I remembered. I had experimented with an elimination diet the year before but didn’t cut out all inflammatory foods entirely (coffee and wine), and the whole thing totally fell apart once I started adding food groups back in. In order for the diet to be the most beneficial you have to add groups back one at a time for 3 days and note your symptoms. If any of your symptoms are feeling worse then you are supposed to cut the food out, and try a different one. I was fine when it came to eggs, and next tomatoes, but it all went downhill once I added dairy back. I mean how can you give me cheese and then take it away again?! This left me knowing dairy was a trigger of mine, but I unfortunately threw in the towel before narrowing it down more.

I came across a book called “Fibromyalgia Freedom” when I was feeling motivated in early January and knew it was important I give it another go. I also decided to document my journey on social media as a way to keep me accountable. I have discovered some new triggers (including coffee, wine, and peppers), and some foods that don’t seam to bother me (eggs, butter, green tea). I’ve been feeling so good however I’ve decided to keep the rest of the “possible” food triggers out for now (like gluten) until I’m ready to experiment again.

Keto (High-Fat/Low Carb) Lifestyle: 

I suspect this to be the most controversial thing about this post but hear me out a little. The Keto or Ketosis Diet has become extremely popular over the past few years and everyone is jumping on board. The only issue is that people are not going about it in the right way or not making the right choices. Some are even purchasing expensive supplements which are frankly a waste of money. For that reason even just the name itself comes with a preconceived notion. We’ll get to the right and wrong way in a future post but let me first tell you why I follow a Keto lifestyle. 

We actually first tried a Keto diet a year and a half ago when hubby wanted to give it a try. I had only started eating meat a month before and the nutrition student in me cringed at the idea. I wanted to support Dwayne however and had a weight loss goal for an upcoming trip. We didn’t put a lot of research in it at the time but purchased a beginner’s plan by a well-known Keto advocate. We initially both lost quickly but after we finished the plan we wanted to try new recipes to switch it. Cue Keto Pinterest recipes! We really enjoyed what we were eating but a lot of the recipes were high in cream cheese, cream, and cheese. I had heard of people decreasing their inflammation on Keto, but of course I wasn’t since I now know that dairy is a huge trigger of mine. Since our goal for doing Keto at this time was mostly weight-loss we didn’t follow it while on vacation or with company so we slowly gained it back.

We have remained Keto on and off since then but really started researching and experimenting with our macros and what works for us in January. And while I am not going to go into details in this post I will tell you I am not eating any dairy currently and really only consuming one serving of meat a day. All of my fat comes from other sources such as my coconut yogut, avocados, eggs and nuts. In fact I don’t even like to use the term “keto” because of the stigma it comes with. I prefer to call it “high-fat/low-carb” or a “fat adapted lifestyle”.  I know that sugar is a huge trigger of mine and I feel a million times better without it. And yes this includes sugar from fruit as well as from other grains, because it all turns to sugar (or glucose) in our bodies.

My anti-inflammatory diet in combination with being fat-adapted has made me feel the best I have in years. I don’t crave any sugar or carbs (I don’t have any cravings really), and it helps to keep our blood sugar levels low which is really the goal for both weight maintenance and overall health. More on that later as well. And before anyone asks you don’t need grains or fruit to meet your nutritional requirements. All you need is protein, veggies (ie carbs) and fat!

Intermittent Fasting:

Intermittent Fasting or IF has also been getting a lot of attention lately, but it’s certainly not a new eating protocol. I actually did IF for my last fitness competition which was the most enjoyable competition plan I’ve followed. We’ve done it on and off since then, but again really didn’t put as much research or experimentation into it as we should have. Many of the Keto gurus we follow also are big promoters of IF.

We decided to pair our fat adapted lifestyle with intermittent fasting this time because it is the best way to control blood sugars. As I mentioned above this is very important both for weight loss/maintenance and overall health. I will go into scientific detail later but I know what you might be thinking? What about breakfast Krissy? You told me that was the most important meal of the day! And the answer is yes it is, but you don’t have to eat it first thing in the morning. “Break-fast” is simply the first meal you eat to break your fast. Another term for intermittent fasting is “time restricted eating” or in other words eating all of your meals within a certain time frame. There are varying ways to do this and both Dwayne and I follow different eating windows because of what works best for each of us. We make sure we get all of our calories and macros within this window which ensures we meet our nutritional requirements.

Another benefit we enjoy from IF is the amount of time it saves in meal prep. Instead of worrying about eating every 2 – 3 hrs, we have larger meals only a few times a day. It’s also saves us a lot of cost on food because we are consuming calorie dense high-fat foods which means we don’t need as much. There are many out there who see benefits from just doing IF and don’t follow Keto as well. This may be something we try eventually once we are in the maintenance phase but we are feeling great now as is.

And there you have it, the 3 changes I made to my diet to help me lose 30 lb. I realize these are big changes, but each of them have become a lifestyle now since I can’t deny how great I feel. 

I’m sure you have lots of questions like: What do you eat in a day? What times do you eat? What do you have for treats? How do you eat out? Do you workout too? And don’t worry I will get to each these. In the meantime I’d love to know what other questions you have an I can add these to the list as well. Please leave a comment below and feel free to share this article with someone that could benefit from it.

Naturally, Krissy – xo 

How I Kicked My Coffee Habit

It’s officially been 3 months since I’ve quit my coffee addiction and I’m never looking back. Keep reading for how I’m feeling now without it, as well as the perfect substitution I’ve found to replace it.

I decided to give up coffee in January when I started my second Fibromyalgia and anti-inflammatory elimination diet. I didn’t part with it when I did an elimination diet last year because I was always so exhausted, I couldn’t imagine life without it. I needed at least one coffee to wake me up in the morning and often a second one to keep me going after lunch. I loved the smell, the bitter taste, and looked forward to every single cup. I thought it was important to give my elimination diet 100% this time around though and wanted to rule out the possibility of adrenal fatigue.

I’m not going to lie, the first three days were awful! Day 1 was the worst. I was a horrible person to be around because of my irritability and was so exhausted I needed a nap (which I never do despite my chronic fatigue). Day 2 was slightly better, and day 3 a little more. Based on what others told me I thought I would go through these withdrawal symptoms for at least week or two, but thankfully by day 4 I was fine. I had so much energy by day 5 that I did my first workout on our elliptical machine in forever.

My energy continued to increase in the weeks after, and while I did cut out a lot of other inflammatory foods from my diet, my chronic pain, IBS symptoms and Interstitial Cystitis (IC) were all much better. I added green tea back in last month so I am having a little caffeine again but it doesn’t seem to affect me the same way as coffee. Recently I decided to try one medium coffee just to see how I’d feel and this confirmed it’s definitely one of my triggers. I woke up very sore the next morning and my IC and IBS were acting up. It also makes me anxious and sweat more. Unfortunately I’ve discovered decaf coffee isn’t good for my IC either. So as much as the smell still gets me, I’ve decided to break-up with coffee for good. The fact is coffee is very acidic and inflammatory. It’s clear my body knows what is best for me and I’m going to listen to it.

Thankfully I’ve found the perfect substitution that not only helped with my initial transition but is a regular yummy treat for when I’m craving a warm coffee-like drink. Dandy Blend not only smells like coffee, it looks like coffee, has a rich and slightly sweet taste, and a smooth texture giving it the closest resemblance to coffee I’ve found.

As it’s name suggests Dandy Blend also has all the benefits of dandelion root which include:

  • Improving gut health
  • Helping digestion
  • A good source of vitamin K & calcium
  • Can prevent gallstones
  • Balances water
  • Can decrease eczema
  • Can help with muscle & joint pain
  • And so much more!

Thinking of kicking your morning coffee habit to the curb? Or looking to cut back? Click here to try Dandy Blend yourself and let me know what you think!

Do you have a coffee substitute you like? Let me know in the comments below and please share with someone you think would like this article.

Naturally, Krissy – xo

Anti-Inflammatory Bone Broth

Bone broth has been getting a lot of attention lately but what exactly are the health benefits and how do you make it? Keep reading for my tips and super simple preparation method.

Bone Broth Health Benefits Include:

  • Reduces Inflammation
  • Improves Joint Health
  • Boosts the Immune System
  • Helps with Food Sensitivities
  • Can Help Heal the Gut
  • Beautifies Hair, Skin & Nails
  • Avoids Food Wastage
  • And so Much More!

Sure you can take collagen and other supplements to help with the above but why not save money and decrease food wastage by making your own tasty anti-inflammatory superfood!

I am going to include 2 recipes below:

  1. How to make bone broth using raw bones.
  2. How to make it using already cooked bones.

I switch it up depending on how many bones I have saved. I keep a container for each beef and chicken bones in the freezer. You can also purchase raw bones from your local butcher for a very inexpensive cost. We buy ours locally for $1 a pound!

Making Bone Broth Using Raw Bones:

Step 1: Place 2 – 4 lbs of raw chicken or beef bones* in a large pot, cover with water and bring to a gentle boil. Discard water and strain bones. This is to get rid of any nasty bits on the bones. Don’t discard the highly nutritious marrow inside the bones though!

*Choose grass-fed, antibiotic, and steroid free bones when possible.

Step 2: Spread bones out on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and bake for 15 min at 450 degrees F.

Step 3: Place roasted bones in an instant pot or slow cooker and cover with fresh water.

P.S. I highly recommend an instant pot as it cuts down cooking time greatly. If you don’t have one already they are truly life changing! Click here for my recommendation.

Step 4: For instant pot: Place lid in sealing setting and set manual time for 3 hours (you might need to break this up into 2 hr and 1 hr if you are using an older model). After 3 hours use the quick release method.

For slow cooker: Set slow cooker on high, cover and simmer for 24 – 48 hr.

Step 5: Allow broth to cool.

Step 6: Strain broth into large mason jars and store in the refrigerator. You can save the marrow if you like to use later but I try to strain as much as possible from the broth.

Step 7: Enjoy! To get maximum health benefits enjoy 1 cup of bone broth a day heated up in your favourite mug. At this point you can add pink Himalayan sea salt to taste and season as you like as it really doesn’t have much taste on its own. Use broth also to make soups and sauces.

Bone broth will last a long time in the refrigerator as long as a layer of fat remains on top. Make sure to include some of this fat in each servings because it’s oh so good for you!

Making Bone Broth Using Cooked Bones:

Start at Step 3 above. Since your bones would already be seasoned I recommend waiting to taste your broth first before seasoning.

Please let me know how you enjoyed this recipe by leaving a comment below and please share with someone else you think would enjoy it.

Naturally, Krissy – xo

Why I’m Not Vegan Anymore

I know this post is long overdue but I didn’t know quite how to write it until now. After I started eating meat again I was so nervous to make it public because I didn’t want to offend any of my vegan friends and followers. I almost felt like I had failed them, like I had failed myself. I had guilt and shame for putting my health above my compassion for animals. Still, I think it’s important for me to be real with you and share my story.

Why Vegan?

Let me begin with why I became vegan in the first place. It was around six years ago. Now that I look back this is where I remember my fibromyalgia symptoms had first started, although I didn’t know it at the time. I had taken a break from competing, had gained around 10 lb, was feeling exhausted, and my IBS was in a bad state. I stumbled upon the plant-based movement after watching a series of documentaries. After doing lots of research I decided to give plant-based eating a try. Before long I became full vegan because it became so much more to me than my health…it was now also about animal cruelty and the environment. I was fighting for a cause that I cared about.

In the beginning I felt amazing. My energy had increased and I was able to lose some weight. I took a plant-based course from Cornell University and before long I was helping others with their plant-based and vegan diets. I felt so great I decided to celebrate my one year vegan-anniversary by stepping back on the competitive stage as a vegan athlete. It was probably the easiest competition prep I’ve ever had because I got to eat so much food! I couldn’t help but share my beliefs with others.

The Turning Point

Unfortunately it wasn’t long after my competition that my health started to decline again. This is when the chronic fatigue started to impact my daily routine and I started developing new conditions including eczema, interstitial cystitis (overactive bladder), and chronic pain. My IBS progressively got worse as well and my skin and hair lost their glow. I didn’t blame my vegan diet for this of course, but I knew something didn’t feel right.

I continued as a vegan for another year while experimenting with an elimination diet to find out my triggers for interstitial cystitis and IBS. I discovered that grains, soy, legumes, citrus fruits, whole almonds, and night shade vegetables (tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and eggplant) made my symptoms worse so I had to cut these out as well. This obviously eliminated huge staples of mine as a vegan. It wasn’t an easy choice but this is what caused me to add eggs and dairy back into my diet. Then after a year as a lacto-ovo vegetarian I got blood work results back that showed I had low iron and vitamin D. I tried supplementing with high doses of iron but it didn’t help. Still I was determined to keep trying because of my love and compassion for all animals.

Up until this point I hadn’t had any cravings for meat. My husband was not plant-based and I prepared many of the non-vegan meals for him and our guests. It didn’t phase me at all that I wasn’t joining them. That is until 2 summers ago when I noticed myself starting to crave meat again. One evening he was grilling hamburgers and for the first time in four years I had an intense desire to eat one. I wasn’t even a fan of hamburgers. So I decided to listen to my body and ate a hamburger. It honestly tasted amazing and I had such crazy energy afterwards! I was afraid my digestive system wouldn’t be happy with me but it didn’t bother me at all. I had so much energy that I had a hard time falling asleep that night, when I was normally zonked by 8 pm. It was at that point that I decided that my body must be telling me something, so I officially added meat back into my diet. It was only a few months later that my iron levels had risen back to normal again, and in turn my energy increased.

Taking Back My Health

When I first added meat back into my diet I told myself it was a temporary thing. Unfortunately I couldn’t deny how much better I felt. Since my diet was already so limited without eating grains, legumes, soy, whole almonds, and nightshade vegetables I just couldn’t imagine cutting out another food group again. I decided I needed to listen to my body, and as much as my conscience bothered me, I knew it was time to take my health back into my hands again.

Now I am not saying that a plant-based diet caused my fibromyalgia, IBS or Interstitial Cystitis, but unfortunately it didn’t help my symptoms. I have massive respect for those who can eat a vegan or vegetarian diet and thrive. Sadly that was not the case for me no matter how much I supplemented, food paired, tried different macro nutrient ratios, etc.

I am now following an anti-inflammatory eating protocol that is almost the exact opposite of vegan (high fat/low carb) and I am finally starting to feel like myself again. It’s been almost 2 years since I’ve been eating this way, and while I am eating meat again I have to say I have a whole new appreciation for the animals who provide me nourishment. I source my meat locally so that I know where it comes from and we try to only buy free-range and grass fed. Even so I only eat a small amount of meat a day and never take more than I need.

If you are a vegan or vegetarian reading this I want to say thank you for listening to my story. I respect your cause and I truly do understand your position. Keep doing you girl (or guy), and I hope you can respect my decision in return.

I understand food is very personal and what works for me doesn’t necessarily work for the next person. We are all individual and have unique needs. These needs also change as we age and deal with health issues. That’s why it’s so important to listen to your body and be in tuned with how food makes you feel.

Feel free to leave me a comment below if you have questions and stay tuned for more details about my current eating protocol.

Naturally, Krissy – xo

My Supplement Routine

While I try hard to get as many nutrients from food as I can, I am a big believer in supplementation for optimal health and wellbeing when meeting requirements isn’t possible through diet alone. I’m often asked questions on my supplement routine, as well as brand recommendations and dosages, so I wanted to share that with all you. Keep reading for my routine and a detailed explanation of what each supplement is beneficial for. Click on the links for my favourite brands.

My routine does change from time to time depending on my goals and how I am feeling. Currently my goals are to ensure I’m meeting all of my nutritional requirements while supporting my anti-inflammatory diet, to decrease inflammation and stress, increase energy, balance hormones, and just to generally feel my best.

I should also add a little disclaimer in that these are the supplements I personally find are the most important for me based on my diet, lifestyle, and goals. These supplements have been recommended to me by health professionals and I am simply sharing what I take, without recommending you follow my routine. Please make sure you consult with a health professional and do your research when choosing what supplements are best for you. For example I know a lot of people supplement with omega-3, probiotics, collagen, etc. These are all important nutrients however I am conscious of meeting my requirements of these from food so I don’t currently need to supplement with them. Everyone’s individual needs differ however.

My Daily Supplement Summery

Click on the beige links below for the brands I use:

Vitamin D3 – 6 drops/day (6,000 IU)

Vitamin K2 – 100 mcg/day

Adrenal-Pro – 2 capsules, twice a day

Women’s Multivitamin – 2/day

CoQ10 – 400 mg/day

DIM – 1/day

Iodine – 3 drops, twice a week

Trace Minerals 10 drops/day in 1 L of water

Magnesium Glycinate – 400 mg before bed

The Details

Vitamin D3 – 6 drops/day (6,000 IU) – Click here for the brand I use

Vitamin D is essential to absorb calcium and phosphorus needed to build and maintain strong bones and teeth. It is also important for immune system function and has been recently linked to cancer prevention.

As a Canadian it is almost impossible to meet vitamin D requirements without supplements, especially in the Winter. I learned this the hard way. My vitamin D was extremely low 4 years ago and since then I have been taking 6,000 IU of vitamin D3 a day in the fall and winter months. I don’t need as much in the summer since I spend so much time outdoors. Doctors have actually stopped testing for vitamin D and instead suggest everyone take a vitamin D supplement of at least 1,000 IU/ day.

When choosing a vitamin supplement make sure it is vitamin D3. D3 is the bioactive form of vitamin D that our body naturally produces when it is exposed to sunlight. While both are beneficial for your health, vitamin D3 is far better absorbed and utilized by the body.

Vitamin K2 (which I talk about next) is important to take with vitamin D3 to help prevent hypercalcemia, which is one of the concerns of higher vitamin D intake.

Vitamin K2 – 1/day (100 mcg/day) – Click here for the brand I use

Vitamin K2 has been recently studied extensively for its connection with reducing inflammation in the body. Unlike vitamin K1 which is found in green vegetables, vitamin K2 is produced by bacteria in our gut and can be found in fermented foods. Unfortunately most of this is passed out in our stools. Vitamin K1 can convert to K2 however the amount produced might not always be sufficient enough.

Vitamin K2 also works synergistically with a number of other nutrients to aid in their function, including calcium and vitamin D. K2 is vital for transporting calcium to where the body needs it and helps prevent hypercalcification of the arteries and other organs.

Vitamin K2 deficiency leaves you vulnerable to a number of chronic diseases, including osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer, brain disease, and improper calcification leading to kidney stones or heel spurs.

Adrenal-Pro – 2 capsules, twice a day – Click here for the brand I use

This adrenal support supplement includes several compounds called adaptogens that I was taking separately before including Ashwagandha, Rhodiola and Siberian Ginseng. I stumbled upon this supplement at my local health food store and figure it would be easier to combine everything in one convenient capsule.

Adaptogens are herbs that have the properties to help increase the bodies internal resistance to stress. These herbs have been used for centuries to help improve mental and physical performance during periods of physical stress. Adaptogens help to increase physical and mental performance after periods of physical and/or mental exertion, increasing energy, reducing stress and fatigue and providing an improved sense of well being.

I believe my body was going through a period of adrenal fatigue and this supplement is great for helping support the adrenal glands, which are responsible for producing the stress hormone cortisol. Adrenal fatigue happens when the adrenal glands are exhausted and unable to produce adequate quantities of hormones, primarily cortisol, due to chronic stress or infections.

This supplement contains other beneficial ingredients that also help decrease stress and increase energy including B vitamins, Schisandra, L-Tyrosine and Astragulus.

Women’s Multivitamin – 2/day – Click here for the brand I use

I find a good multivitamin is beneficial just to make sure I am covering all of my nutritional bases. Even though I try to buy organic when possible, our food and soil just isn’t what it used to be in terms of nutritional value. I also question whether or not I absorb all of my nutrients from food while dealing with IBS.

When choosing a multivitamin I look for something that is derived from food instead of manmade chemicals. I also prefer to use a multi that is specifically for women so that I know I am getting everything I need, since men and women differ in certain nutrient requirements.

I recently found out that I have the MTHFR gene mutation which inhibits my body from converting folic acid and vitamin B12 to their active forms, methyl folate and methlycobalamine. This requires me to supplement with these active forms. Thankfully this particular multivitamin contains the active forms of both in the amounts I need per day.

CoQ10 – 400 mg/day – Click here for the brand I use

Coenzyme Q10, or CoQ10, is a compound that helps generate energy in your cells. It is produces naturally in the body but this is decreased with age. Research has showed that several health conditions are linked to low levels of CoQ10 including cancer, heart disease, diabetes and brain disorders.

Studies have also shown that CoQ10 has many health benefits including promoting heart health, improve male and female fertility, can help reduce oxidative damage to the skin from UV rays (ie it might help keep your skin looking younger), can help with exercise performance, can reduce headaches, and might help prevent diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, brain disorders and lung related diseases.

DIM – 1/day – Click here for the brand I use

Diinolylmethane or DIM is a supplement used to balance estrogen dominance. It is a natural plant-based chemical found in many cruciferous vegetables. 1 capsule of DIM is equivalent to 8 lbs of cruciferous vegetables. DIM works to create a healthy balance of estrogen and testosterone in your body.

DIM supplements are also often used for breast, uterine and colorectal cancer prevention. It can also help with PMS and menopause symptoms, decrease inflammation, help with weight loss and helps treat acne.

Iodine – 3 drops, twice a week – Click here for the brand I use

Iodine is an essential nutrient needed by the body. The thyroid gland needs iodine to produce hormones. If it does not have enough iodine the thyroid gland has to work harder and can cause it to enlarge, also known as a goiter.

Iodine is especially important for women of reproductive age as a deficiency can lead to infertility. Iodine deficiency can also lead to an autoimmune disease of the thyroid and may increase the risk of getting thyroid cancer. Some researchers think that iodine deficiency might also increase the risk of other cancers such as prostate, breast, endometrial, and ovarian cancer.

There are very few food sources of iodine and for that reason it was added to table salt many years ago to prevent deficiencies. Sea vegetables such as kelp and dulce are rich sources of iodine. Unfortunately as much as I have tried I am not a big fan of either, and I only use pink Himalayan salt which does not contain iodine.

There is also a concern for high cruciferous vegetable intake affect the thyroid glad. When eaten raw, the digestion of cruciferous vegetables in the intestines releases goitrogens, which can increase the need for iodine.

For these reasons I supplement with Iodine just to be safe, but thankfully only a small amount is needed. I take 3 drops twice a week mixed in a little water because the taste is not very pleasant. You can also rub it on your skin if you prefer, but be prepared as it will leave a yellow tinge behind.

Trace Minerals – 10 drops/day in 1 L of water – Click here for the brand I use

I have been very conscious lately of making sure my electrolyte balance is in check. Since I follow a low carb and high fat diet my body loses more electrolytes including potassium, sodium, chloride, and magnesium so it’s extra important I monitor my trace minerals. We use reverse osmosis at home so our water doesn’t contain any of these minerals unlike well water (p.s city water is even worse!).

Electrolytes are important to maintain cell function and water balance. They also regulate nerve and muscle function, balance blood acidity and pressure, and help rebuild damaged tissue.

I put 10 drops of these trace minerals in every L of water I drink and sprinkle a little pink Himalayan salt and “no salt (potassium)”. This ensures proper hydration, as without electrolyte balance you can become dehydrated no matter how much water you drink, as you will essentially just pee it out.

Do you get muscle cramps when working out or at night? Chances are it’s due to an electrolyte imbalance!

Magnesium Glycinate – 400 mg before bed – Click here for the brand I use

Magnesium is an essential nutrient for regulating many body processes, including muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure. This mineral also supports the making of protein, bone, and DNA. It can also help to reduce hot flashes in menopausal women.

Magnesium helps to relax muscles and your mind which is just what I need before bed to help me sleep. As a macro-mineral the body requires magnesium in large amounts. Studies have shown that many people are deficient in this nutrient because it is difficult to get enough from food alone.

There are many forms of magnesium all for different purposes. Magnesium Glycinate has a higher absorption rate than other forms of magnesium, and it is easier on the digestive system.

Brands Matter – Choose Quality Over Price

It’s important to keep in mind that not all supplements brands are created equally. When choosing supplements it’s important to make sure they are high quality, do not contain too many fillers, are non-GMO, and are derived from a food source as much as possible. This ensures maximum absorption and bioavailability.

Unfortunately many inexpensive brands are manmade from synthetic compounds. My general rule is not buying supplements that have a tv commercial or are generic drug store brands. Instead I buy trusted natural brands I’ve used before or that my naturopath and chiropractor recommends.

What’s your supplement routine? Leave me a comment below!

Naturally, Krissy – xo

Coconut Yogurt – Homemade Probiotic CocoYo

It’s not a secret anymore that fermented foods are good for your gut. They contain trillions of tiny microorganisms or “good bacteria” that live in your digestive tract to help promote healthy digestion. Eating fermented foods is like taking a probiotic without the need to take a supplement. They help improve bowl health, boost immunity, and help with food absorption. Researchers are also beginning to link the benefits of these microorganisms with preventing and controlling many health conditions such as obesity, as well as neurological and inflammatory disorders.

Fermentation is an age-old method of preservation that has been around for thousands of years. It allows you to store food for months without losing nutrients, and is a budget-friendly (and tasty) way for you to add probiotics to your diet.

Since I’ve cut most dairy out of my diet, I’ve been searching for a non-inflammatory alternative to regular yogurt. Unfortunately most store bought coconut yogurts have too much sugar and not enough fat for my liking. I’ve been wanting to make my own cocoyo (that’s the fun name for coconut yogurt) for awhile and am so happy I finally did! It’s absolutely delicious and super simple to make. I’ve tested it out a few times and wanted to share my perfected recipe with you.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 Package of Probiotic Culture (Here’s my Fav!)

8 – 10 Cans of Organic Full-Fat Coconut Milk

8 – 10 Mason Jars (500 ml)

A Package of Xanthan Gum

Liquid Stevia (I like vanilla flavoured for this recipe)

Blender or food processor

Preparation:

  • In a small bowl mix the package of probiotic culture with 1 tbsp of room temperature water. Stir until combined and let sit for 10 min to activate culture.
  • Open one can of coconut milk and scoop entire contents into one mason jar. Measure out 1/4 tsp of the starter mixture and add to the jar. Tighten lid on jar and gently shake to mix. Repeat process until you use up all of the starter culture (will be between 8 – 10 jars of yogurt).
  • Place jars in a cool dark space and let sit for 24 hrs. Do not leave any longer than 24 hrs as your yogurt will not taste good.
  • After 24 hrs place the mason jars in the refrigerator for at least 48 hrs.
  • Remove the mason jars from the fridge as you need and scoop contents into a blender or food processor. Add 1/4 tsp – 1/2 tsp of xanthan gum (depending on desired thickness) and 5 – 10 drops of liquid stevia and blend until smooth and fluffy.

Tips:

I like my yogurt very thick so I use at least 1/2 tsp of xanthan gum. You don’t have to add any if you like runnier yogurt, and you can flavour your yogurt as you like using unsweetened coconut flakes, nuts, berries, maple syrup, cinnamon, etc.

You can leave the unblended yogurt in the refrigerator until you are ready to eat it. It will last up to 8 months in the refrigerator! Each mason jar holds 2 servings of yogurt.

Save 1 tbsp of unflavoured cocoyo to use as the starter for your next jar. This way you will always have some in the refrigerator. That’s if you can give up the 1 tbsp. It’s pretty irresistible!

How did your cocoyo turn out? I’d love to know! Leave me a comment or tag me on social media and I’ll share it in my stories.

Naturally, Krissy – xo

HoW To: Beachy Hair Waves Made Easy

I love when the weather is warm enough outside again that I can let my hair dry naturally to get beachy waves. It’s so much faster than drying/straightening my hair and is so much healthier for my locks. It’s also my husband’s preferred look on me which is a bonus. Since I have a lot of hair I’ll take not having to blow-dry it any day!

I’m often asked how I achieve the beachy hair look, so I wanted to share my super simple routine with all of you. It has taken me years to find the right products and technique that work on me so results might vary of course. I can’t count how many times I’ve splurged on a new product only to use it once or twice before tossing it.

The Products:

Purple Shampoo: Matrix – Total Results Brass Off

Conditioner: Matrix – Total Results Brass Off

Dry Shampoo: Lush – No Drought

Leave-In Conditioner: It’s a 10 Miracle Leave in Product

Brush: Neverland Beauty – Bamboo Detangling and Anti-Static Brush

Hair Turban – Norwex Hair Wrap

My Routine:

Step 1: I give my hair a very good brushing before heading into the shower, making sure to detangle all knots. This is the last time I brush it until I style it again.

The biggest tip that I can share with you to help you keep the wavy look is not to brush your hair after it’s wet! I know that sounds ridiculous (and slightly disgusting) but it’s true. Touching it too much can ruin the waves.

Step 2: I wash and rinse my hair twice using the purple shampoo. The first time is quick with a small amount just to help remove any oils and left over dry shampoo. The 2nd time lathers much more and I scrub my scalp thoroughly, leaving the shampoo in for at least 5 min while I wash my face, shave, etc.

Purple shampoo is key to help me maintain my ashy blonde colour. I’ve tried many purple shampoos and Matrix’s Brass Off is the winner hands down. It takes the yellow out of my hair while giving me the desired silver look, without turing it purple. It also isn’t too harsh on my hair like other purple shampoos I’ve tried.

Step 3: After rinsing the shampoo out I apply a generous amount of conditioner all over my hair and leave this in for another 5 min before rinsing.

Step 4: When I’m finished showering I ring out any excess water and gently run through it with my fingers, taking out any knots or snags. I wrap my hair using just a regular towel while I continue to dry off.

Step 5: After gently towel drying my hair I wrap it in my hair turban and let my hair dry more in the wrap while I finish getting ready.

Step 6: I remove the turban, put my head upside down and use my fingers to shake my hair close to the scalp. The I flip my head up and do the same. This helps for it to fall into place. If there are any snags I gently detangle with my fingers.

Step 7: I apply a generous amount of the leave in conditioner to my palm and run it though the bottom 3/4 of my hair while scrunching, being careful not to get it too close to the roots. I don’t apply it on my roots as it makes them look greasy.

Step 8: I continue to scrunch my hair occasionally while drying. Being careful not to touch it too much though. I find less is more when it comes to beachy waves.

In Between Washes:

Because I have very thick hair I can get away with only washing it once or twice a week. It starts to get a little greasy by day 4 or 5 though so this is where the dry shampoo comes in. I sprinkle it in my hands and run it through my hair and over my scalp as needed. If my hair gets very tangly between washing I will gently brush it and use a little more leave-in conditioner to style.

While I am all about using as many natural products as possible I have yet to find any natural products that work when it comes to my hair, other than Lush’s Dry Shampoo which is natural, cruelty-free and vegan. It’s a 10 is also cruelty free. But I don’t know if a natural purple shampoo exists. I’ve tried Monat hair products as well as Arbonne and they just didn’t work for me. What about you? Do you have any natural hair product suggestions? Leave me a comment below!

Naturally, Krissy – xo

Celery Juice

I broke out my juicer today for the first time in years to make celery juice. I’ve been reading about the amazing benefits of this vegetable and its ability to help the body detox naturally, which is just what I need post-surgery.

It helps in immune system function, aids in digestion, is good for gut health, boosts liver & kidney function, reduces inflammation, and so much more!

This is what one bunch of celery looks like juiced. I also added 1 tsp of lemon juice to enhance the flavour and will be playing around with adding other veggies.

Stay tuned for recipes!

Saying Goodbye to our Girl

“Grief is the price we pay for love.”

No one can ever be prepared for the pain that comes with the loss of your best friend. We had to say goodbye to our beautiful baby girl yesterday and it has certainly left a hole in our hearts.

Isis was so much more than a dog to us. She was our constant companion, loyal family member, the best cuddle bug, my walking partner, and the true definition of unconditional love. She literally came everywhere with us and never wanted to leave our side. She was sweet, gentle, intuitive and oh so beautiful. She has brought so much joy to our lives and has shown us the example of true love.

We miss you so much baby girl and will always keep you in our hearts. Thanks so much to everyone who has reached out to Dwayne and I. It means so much!

Winter Walking

My girl and I sure love our Winter walks in the country!

Studies show that walking in the woods is good for you and has more benefits than walking in an urban or indoor setting.

Not only does it help with weight maintenance, it reduces stress and anxiety, boosts immune function, helps improve mental health, increases mood, and can reduce pain. Just the smell of the trees or living around more trees leads to a healthier overall mental state.

Lolë always has me covered when it comes to keeping me warm while walking in the Winter like with my Emeline Jacket, Just Cardigan and Half Moon leggings worn here.