Posts in advice
Nomshell's 1st Birthday and what I've learned this year...
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All photos courtesy of  Miaou Photography

All photos courtesy of Miaou Photography

OH My G! Nomshell's 1st birthday is here! I can't even believe it! Cue the music, put your party hats on and I'll do a little dance!

This little blog all started with an idea... What if there was a space to share vegan recipes, nutritional information, as well as lifestyle and beauty tips that would all help save our planet!? Having no previous experience in the world of blogging, much of this year was a trial and error sort of a deal. Through it all I gained some valuable insight into entrepreneurship, relationships and life in general that I'd like to share with you...

What I've learned this year

This year has been full of changes. Ups and downs. But isn't every year that way? I feel that the most important goal in life is to continue to learn and grow. I did a lot of that this year. 

I've learned it's ok to let go. In the process of implementing more of a minimalist philosophy in my life, I have learned that some things just aren't worth the stress. When running your own business while still having a day job and other side projects, it's important to know when to let things go. There are all kinds of people out there who will try to tell you how to run your blog or business. While they may have great advice and the best of intentions, it's really important for you to decide what's right for you. All those details we stress over, often don't make much difference in the long term. It's ok to let them go. 

When we moved to our new apartment, we knew storage was going to be a big issue. We both knew it was time to let go of some our physical "things". Sometimes these objects have sentimental value... but I've learned, if it doesn't add any joy to my life... it's ok to let it go. 

It's okay to let go of people and relationships too. Everyone comes into our lives for a  reason, to teach us something or to help us view a part of ourselves... but that doesn't mean they need to stay around for a lifetime. It's important to recognize when a relationship, or friendship is unhealthy, and know when to let it go. I'd rather have just a few close friends than be in bad company.  

I've learned that taking a step back is not failure. There have been many times this year that I have not been able to keep up with the strict deadlines I gave myself at the beginning of this blogging adventure. That's okay! Taking time to step back, evaluate and take time for self care is important. Often I find the demands of social media to be unsustainable. Not posting everyday is NOT a failure. I like to create content that is meaningful and informative, and that takes time. Sometimes it's more important to take your time, and enjoy your life rather than post to facebook or instagram, allow that time for yourself. 

I've learned that the flexible won't break. When running a business, it's important to be flexible. Sometimes things just can't happen the way we want them to and that's okay! Take a deep breath, and work around it, re-evaluate or change your plan of action. Don't let inflexibility be your downfall. 

It's okay to ask for help! Asking for help and advice is NOT shameful. We can't all know everything and in general, most people WANT to help! When starting your own business, there's a lot to think about. We all make mistakes. Having a few peers as a little support group is the BEST thing! I am so fortunate to have some former classmates and close friends as a little support network. 

Finally, there is no straight line to success. A plus B doesn't always equal C. It's important to know that just like there is no straight path to nutritional healing, there is no straight line to success. It takes much trial and error to figure out what works best for you. Get out there, try some new things and see what works. 

Thank-you

I would also like to thank some very special people for helping make this first year of business so memorable!

To Eric, you have been my biggest supporter and cheerleader, all through this year! I am so thankful to have you in my life. For all the little things, and the BIG things you do... THANK YOU! 

To my family, thank you for always being there, through thick and thin, I am grateful to have you. 

Thank you to Dr Ellen Simone for helping me grow my clinical practice, you have made the transition from student to practitioner an easy one with all your support and encouragement. 

To Becka yates, you are my biggest super-fan and you make this blog possible with all of your beautiful photos, I couldn't have gotten through this year without you. 

To my RHN friends (you know who your are), thank you for always lending your ears, offering advice and making me laugh when I need it most. What a wonderful thing it is to help one another. 

To Anna Jonas and  Ottawa Life Magazine, thank you for featuring me in your Vegans of Ottawa article series, I am so lucky to be a part of such a beautiful vegan community here in Ottawa. 

Finally to all of you, yes YOU! To each of you who read my articles, share recipes on facebook, instagram or pinterest, and come out to the clinic for workshops and one on one nutritional coaching... You are the ones that make this humble nutrition blog what it is. I can't thank you enough for all your continued support! 

There are a lot of exciting things on deck for Nomshell in 2018... thanks for joining me for the ride! 

xo KL

It's NOT skin deep, it's GUT deep!
 

As a hairstylist and makeup artist I am often asked for tips on how to combat hair and skin issues. Usually clients are looking for a quick fix product recommendation. While skin, hair and nail products can help, they are really just a band-aid on the surface.

So what's the single best thing you can do right now to improve your hair, skin and nails?

Improve your overall digestion! Say what? I know it sounds nutty but the link between your gut and your skin is real. Hair and nails are essentially just extensions of your skin... So let's discuss some tips for healthy digestion, and key nutrients that are essential for healthy skin.

Before we get started you need to know that skin, hair and nail issues are multi-factoral, meaning they can have several causes. However many of those other causes can also stem from problems with digestion, let's start at the source.

Digestion does not begin in the stomach

Let me say that again.... Digestion does not begin in the stomach. The signals for digestion begin before we even put food into our mouths. The sight, and smell of food trigger a chain reaction. Pupils dilate slightly and we begin to salivate. Saliva contains digestive enzymes (amylase) important for beginning the breakdown of carbohydrates and simple sugars.

What can go wrong- If we are in a hurry and don’t take the time to really look at, smell and appreciate our food in a relaxed state, digestion will be compromised. When we are rushed, stressed, or distracted our bodies are not ready to digest. Stress especially, will interrupt digestion. When stress hormones (cortisol/ adrenalin) are elevated, our bodies perceive danger on an unconscious level, and prepares to either fight the danger, or run from it. Therefore, energy and blood flow are directed away from the digestive organs and into the muscles.

The quick fix- Put your phone away, turn off the TV, eliminate as many distractions as possible. Spend a moment taking deep breaths, smell your food and relax before you sink your fork into it. Some folks find it helpful to spend 3-5 minutes meditating and feeling gratitude for the food they are about to enjoy, this encourages mindfulness at meal time.

Chew Chew Chew your food 

Careful chewing will make a huge difference in the effectiveness of digestion. While chewing we manually break down our food into a soft squishy goop that will make easy work for the stomach. Also during this time, our stomach is triggered and begins to release more HCl (hydrochloric acid) and enzymes (protease/pepsin) in preparation for protein digestion.

What can go wrong- Inadequate chewing results in larger food particles ending up in the stomach. Creating more work for the stomach to do. Furthermore, inadequate chewing may also not allow enough time for digestive juices to accumulate, meaning the stomach is not well prepared for digestion.

The quick fix- Chew your food! Really savour it, and don't swallow until it's a fine paste.

Slow down on the liquids

This is the only time I will tell you to slow down on water and other liquids. Proper Hydration is important, but at meal time less is more.

What can go wrong- Too much water and other liquids can slightly dilute stomach acid, making it less effective in food break down. If food isn’t broken down efficiently, we cannot absorb beneficial nutrients from it.

The quick fix- Do your best to stay well hydrated between meals, at least 20 minutes before, or after meals is desired.

Absorb it, don't waste it!

Next stop on the digestion train is the small intestine. This is where food continues to be broken down to its smallest components. Vitamins and minerals are pulled away from the proteins, fats and carbohydrates that bind them and are absorbed through delicate membranes onto the bloodstream. This is where the connection to skin really becomes evident.

What can go wrong- Poor food combining, overeating and inadequate chewing can put stress on the stomach and result in poor breakdown and absorption in the small intestine. Furthermore, food sensitivities can create low grade inflammation in this delicate organ and impede proper breakdown and absorption of key nutrients, especially essential nutrients such as iron, calcium, B12 and zinc. Zinc is especially important for healthy skin as it is a co-factor for vitamin A. Inflammation in the small intestine is often mirrored elsewhere in the body, including the skin. #Eczema. In addition, Iron and B12 deficiency are linked to hair thinning and loss.

The quick fix- Practice the rules of food combining (unless blood sugar issues exist). Eat fruits alone, do not eat starchy grains with proteins and drink water between meals, not with meals. Chew your food carefully, and stop eating when you feel satiated (2/3- 3/4 full), not when you feel “full” (100% full).

Love your liver

Your liver is a busybody. It has too many functions to name in this article, but it's two main functions are, dismantling toxins, and creating bile to store in the gallbladder. Bile is essential for digestion of fats in the duodenum of the small intestine.

What can go wrong- An overloaded liver cannot function efficiently, as a result bile production can slow. Improperly digested fats leave us deficient in fat soluble vitamins A,D,E and K as well as essential fatty acids. Vitamins A, and E are essential for strong healthy collagen networks and healthy skin cells. Essential fatty acids (EFA's-omega 3 and 6) are responsible for healthy cellular membranes and the secretion of oils that moisturize and protect the skin, scalp and nail beds. Rough, dry alligator skin, dry scalp, and dry brittle nails are all indicators of EFA deficiency.

The quick fix- Don't give your liver too much to do. Avoid processed foods, alcohol and bad fats such as fried foods, hydrogenated oils and rancid fats. Show your liver some love by incorporating bitter greens (mustard, dandelion, or beet greens) into your diet and boost sulphur (the mineral supportive of the liver's detoxification pathways) by adding more onions, garlic, cabbage and broccoli sprouts to your meals.

Poop

Yup! I said poop... After food has made its way through the small intestine, it finds itself in the large intestine (colon). This organ is largely known for its host of friends, the billions of little bacteria that call it home. These little guys help us further break down insoluble fibres and can even help us out by making vitamins K and B12. The large intestine also reclaims water. Then poop happens.

What can go wrong- What if poop isn't happening? Improper balance of beneficial bacteria and dehydration can slow down the elimination of poop. When you're not eliminating this waste daily a few things can occur.

  1. Hormones (mainly estrogen) can be reabsorbed and recirculated- ladies this is bad news for a bunch of reasons, including hormonal disruption of the skin. #Breakouts.
  2. Inadequate water, means inadequate water reclamation. Dehydration= dry hair, skin and nails plus early signs of ageing. #NotSoFineLines
  3.  If the body cannot eliminate through the bowls... it will eliminate through the skin, not just the skin of the face, but the skin of the body too. #Chestne. #Backne.

The quick fix- Foster a happy colon, drink 8-10 glasses of pure water daily. Feed your beneficial flora with pre-biotics such as healthy fibre from pectin rich fruits (apples, cherries, pears), fibrous veggies (dark leafy greens, celery, yams and artichokes) and legumes (split peas, lima beans, Black beans and lentils). Get contributions of healthy bacteria from fermented foods (kefir, homemade sauerkraut, kimchi or kombucha). If constipation persists, you may be low in magnesium. Try taking a dose of magnesium citrate about an hour before bedtime, this should encourage elimination in the morning. Alternatively, you could add a teaspoon of chlorophyll to your first glass of water in the morning to support detoxification in the liver and as a bio-available source of magnesium.

In summary, a happy gut = happy skin! #Radiant

 
Gratitude is the BEST Attitude

Sometimes the universe works in mysterious ways. When life gets complicated it is easy to fall into a pattern of negativity. I struggle with this myself at times. Finding things to be thankful for may seem like an exercise in futility, especially when it feel like the odds are stocked against you, but it really does work.

If you can find at least one thing to be thankful for every morning when you wake up and every night before you go to sleep, you can quickly flip your attitude from one of soul sucking discouragement to one of bright shiny optimism.

I recommend a journal. Sometimes it is helpful to write down your feelings, to help you sort through them. When you find something to be grateful for, write it down and highlight it! Writing it down is an excellent way to affirm your gratitude, keeping it in the front of your focus.

Ex.

In the morning you could write- “Today I am grateful for...”

In the evening you could write- “Today I was grateful that ... happened.”

Be as creative as you like! Use fun pens and markers or find positive quotes to affirm you positive mindset.

Soon you will be on your way to a happier day! :)

And just remember...

It is not happy people who are thankful, It is thankful people who are happy.
wellness, adviceKara-Lynn Garland
Be YO Self
I'm far from perfect as you can plainly see...

I'm far from perfect as you can plainly see...

Let go of the desire to be anything but your truest self.
... But I gotta be me...

... But I gotta be me...

... I just gotta be me, goofy faces and all!  Photos courtesy of  Miaou Photography

... I just gotta be me, goofy faces and all!

Photos courtesy of Miaou Photography

Society keeps trying to tell us “just be yourself”? While at the same time meaning... “just be someone else”... confusing right? I feel ya.

We've all heard it. “Just be yourself”.

A little background...

I was taking a nap the other day and while I was starting to fall asleep, my mind wandered onto the subject of authenticity... and what does that really mean? Immediately I jumped up, headed to my laptop and decided I need to write down everything on my mind in that moment...

I began to think about how other people perceive me, the ways they describe me and the judgements we all make.

I've been told a lot of things, some are positive, others are funny, others have been downright hurtful.

  • I've been told I'm a “hipster”, an “activist”, a “girly girl”.
  • I've been told that I’m super smart, the human encyclopedia, or dictionary. I'm almost too nerdy to function.
  • I've been told that I'm strong willed and opinionated.
  • I've been told I’m too sensitive, overly concerned about the welfare of other people, animals and the planet. I'm a bleeding heart.
  • I've been told my sneezes sound like mice exploding, rodents fighting or miniature laser battles (squeak, pieeeew pieeew pieeeeew).
  • I've been told I make baby pterodactyl noises, I’m the clumsiest person in the world, that I make funny faces, that my laugh is contagious and I have a terrible sense of direction.
  • I've been compared to Jessica Day (Zoey Deschanel's character on the show “New Girl”), Sometimes I like to sing or dance or make funny voices for no real reason.
  • I've been called "Ned Flanders"... that one took me by surprise!
  • I've been called names, I've been victimized, I’ve been demoralized.

I could go on...

When I think about all of these statements, I know deep down that I just wouldn't be me without any of them. Each joyous moment, each painful challenge and each quirky trait has made me who I am today. It is what it is, I am who I am, and I accept that.

But acceptance and pride in one's uniqueness doesn't come easy in a world that tells us how we should look, what we should wear, how we should eat, and who we should be.

The dictionary defines authenticity as “not false or imitation, true to one's own spirit or character”.

How do we become true to our own spirit or character, how do we achieve a place of “not false”?

I believe these are the steps that helped me achieve a place of authenticity:

  1. Forgiveness: Forgiveness is not about excusing, it's about letting go so you can find peace. Before you can move forward, you must make peace with your past. Many years ago I began to forgive, I forgave my bullies, I forgave my ex's, but the most challenging thing to do is to forgive yourself. I still occasionally struggle with this one, regret is a powerful emotion. When I catch myself dwelling on a “mistake” I remind myself “You did the best you could with the information you had at the time”. Doing your best is all you can do.

  2. Accept: Each day accept a part of yourself without resistance. One at a time, embrace your “flaws” and “quirks”. There was a time I found sneezing in public to be horrifyingly embarrassing. Now I laugh and shrug it off... I know my sneeze is “unconventional” but generally it makes others laugh, so I now see it as a gift.
  3. Find Your Voice: Say what you mean and mean what you say. Just find your voice and speak your truth. Talk about your thoughts, feelings and ideas in a constructive way, but don't hide them.

  4. Be Vulnerable: Because as Brene Brown writes “Authenticity is a collection of choices we have to make everyday. It's about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” We cannot let our true selves be seen unless we allow ourselves to be vulnerable.

  5. Let Go: Let go of the desire to be anything but your truest self. Your truest self is the most beautiful expression of you. 

These are the lessons I have found to be most helpful. I strive everyday to do what feels good and right to me. I of course take outside influences into consideration, but ultimately, if it doesn't feel right, I don't take it on board. This is how I stay true to myself, this is how I embrace my authenticity.

I challenge you to forgive, accept, find your voice, be vulnerable, and let go of the desire to be anything but you. I know you can do it, cuz you're awesome like that!

 

Why a Plant Based Diet Worked For Me

I believe it is important to note, that while no diet can cure an autoimmune condition, one can live symptom free the majority of the time. A plant based diet didn't work for me simply because It excluded animal products. It worked for me because I started eating highly alkalizing, whole, organic and plant based foods. While it is becoming easier and easier to be vegan in today's society, it remains challenging to be a whole foods vegan. 

The idea of transitioning to a plant based diet should challenge you to eat more fruits and vegetables. With an ever increasing number of vegan and gluten free foods popping up on grocery store shelves, it can be enticing to reach for the convenient option. However, beware of nutrition "buzzwords". The words "vegan" and "gluten free" are not synonymous with health. All packaged and processed foods can contain harmful ingredients. (I will address some of these ingredients in future posts.)

Be a savvy consumer, and don't fall victim to the hype. Selling "health foods" has become a billion dollar a year industry. Remember that the healthiest foods are the ones that have gone through the least amount of processing to make it to your table. These foods, the ones free of additives, dyes and preservatives are the one's that will support your body's natural healing processes.