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My 4 Favorite YouTube Channels for Yoga!

My 4 Favorite YouTube Channels for Yoga!

People are always shocked when I say pretty much everything I have learned about yoga has been through YouTube. While I would love to be able to go to more classes in actual studios, they are just too expensive for me right now. That is why the internet has been so helpful in allowing me to enjoy my passion for yoga. YouTube yoga videos are almost as nice as studio classes, and they are free! All you need is a yoga mat, or even just a nice carpet, and your phone/laptop/ipad. I have been doing online yoga for a couple years now, and I have narrowed down my favorite channels to these four:

Allie has amazing follow-along Yoga videos that are appropriate for all levels. There are great flows for begginers, advanced yogis, and everyone in-between. She also has some challenges such as a 30-Day Pose Challenge, Chakra Challenge, and Yoga Body Bootcamp. These are perfect for people who have trouble staying motivated because challenges can make things more fun!

Brett is another online teacher who posts a wide-range of yoga videos. I swear she has every kind of video you could imagine! There is yoga for kidney stones, back pain, shoulders, prenatal, jet lag, etc. Some of my favorites are her Full Body Detox Flow, the Morning Yoga Routine: Advanced Strengthen and Flow, Yoga to Release Anger, Frustration & Stress in 10 Min. If you have any specific body parts you want to work, give Brett’s channel a search because I am sure you will find the video for you!


2) Alo Yoga


This channel is newer than the others but they have been posting a ton of videos from a variety of well-known yoga teachers! The great thing about having so many different teachers is that they each have a unique style. For people looking to advance their yoga practice, it is essential to learn from new teachers instead of staying in your comfort zone. Also, this is the only channel I am mentioning in this post that includes male teachers! Male yoga teachers are not as common on YouTube as female teachers. So, definitely check out Alo Yoga if you are interested in male teachers.


1)    Boho Beautiful

Ahhh my absolute favorite channel is Boho Beautiful! Juliana and Mark are the sweetest people you can imagine. They travel all around the world and film their yoga videos from crazy locations from elephant sanctuaries in Thailand, to the snowy mountains of Canada, to the sandy beaches of Costa Rica. Juliana’s voice is extremely relaxing yet her flows are pretty fast-paced; I like this because it keeps me interested and I feel like I am breaking a sweat! While most of the flows are quite intermediate to advanced, there are also some slower beginner flows that are just as great! If you have not checked out this channel yet, go try one of the flows right now! J



            I hope you all have enjoyed this post and give these videos a try. Let me know your favorite channels in the comments below!

            See you next time,


Practice What You Preach

I have a long running interest in health and nutrition. I work in a hospital and have done for a number of years; I've often been shocked, and even appalled at the food that patients are fed. When my daughter was a patient, one of her doctors once marched down to the kitchen and gave them heck, and made them prepare a good “kid” meal for her. I've been taking nutrition courses since last August. I know a lot about vitamins, minerals, carbs, proteins, fat. I know a lot about the various effects certain toxins, including alcohol and cigarettes have on the body. I read a lot of articles about food. I google a lot of stuff about food. I collect recipe books.

I rarely use my recipe books. I frequently come home from work and eat a bowl of cereal, or my all time favourite – a bowl of chips and salsa. I'll just pick at food. I'm tired, I've worked all day, I've prepared food for my family and it really seems like just too much effort to make myself something nutritious. I'm the only vegan in my house, and the only one who will eat the meals I eat – OK that's not entirely true, but my kids sure won't eat what I would. So I make them food (or if I'm really tired I don't) and then out comes the cereal bowl.

The other day I was reading something about how if we treated ourselves as well as we treat others we'd be a lot further ahead. I wouldn't ever pour my daughter a bowl of cereal for supper – or tell her to have chips and salsa. I encourage her to eat and I try to find her foods that she likes (hard with teenagers – they have a small food repertoire!). I treat myself more poorly than I do anyone else in my life. I talk the talk, but I don't walk the walk. When I'm really tired I'll stuff myself full of as much sugar as I can get my hands on and then sit and feel horrible for hours. It's very easy to make poor food choices when one isn't prepared.

I have no excuses. I own a kitchen, and in that kitchen there is a food processor, a crock pot, an InstandPot, and various other tools to help me make a good, nutritious meal. I spend a lot of time looking at my cook books (I sure love the pretty pictures) and thinking about all the nutritious meals I could (should) be making. And then every so often I'll go buy a bunch of groceries and actually make something. And it's good! And I'm so proud of myself! Then, when it's gone I go back to my cereal.

Really, what it comes down to is how important am I to me? Am I willing to expend the energy and the time to look after myself? And if I'm not, then why is that? Why do I put all of life's other challenges first? Why do I think that it's OK to not look after my own needs (says every mother ever!). But I don't have the excuse of motherhood – not really; my kids are twenty-one and seventeen, so I don't have any toddlers to run after all day. It's a vicious circle really. I'm tired, so I don't eat properly, but when I do eat properly I feel so much better. It ain't rocket science people!

I'm going to get out my cookbooks this weekend and see what I can do. I'm always in awe of those people who cook from scratch and make wholesome meals most of the time. I don't really enjoy cooking, so that's probably part of it, but everything is so much better when you eat well. A well nourished body can handle the physical and the mental stuff with strength and clarity. The meals don't have to be involved or difficult; healthy food can be easily prepared. Cereal doesn't cut it (at least not most of the time).

So look after yourselves people! You're of no use to anyone, particularly yourself, if you're run down and eating poorly. Treat yourself the way you would treat somebody you love – somebody who is important to you. Treat yourself like you're the most important person in your life; because you are.


Delicious Foods from Whole Foods (Part 1)

(photo by Danielle)

When shopping at Whole Foods, I find some delicious foods. Sometimes it can be expensive but I combat that by buying things on sale and coming prepared with coupons. However, don't forget to treat yourself when you go in!

Late July tortilla chips and salsa are one of the foods I usually pick up since it is usually a good deal. I also got some 365 chips for my family since I am not big on foods like these but I like to try them on occasion. 

I picked up some milk alternatives and a creamer. I love picking up a variety of alternatives because it switches it up. I picked up some SO Delicious Coconut milk and some vanilla cashew milk by the brand Pacific.

I also got a vegan cheese sauce/dip from the Brand Heidi Ho. I used this on some nachos and it was absolutely delicious. 

I bought some delicious store brand food like the potato and pea samosas and pearled couscous. 

I also got some chocolate and berry flavored Made Good bars and bites. These are one of my favorite brands because they have a serving of vegetables in them (that you cant even taste). Some of these taste just like rice crispies.

The next thing I got was the carrot ginger soup from the brand Pacific. 

The last item I got was the gardein barbeque wings. 

Have any of you tried these products or ones similar? Let me know what you think!


In Defense of the Flexitarian

The term "flexitarian" isn't all that common in the dietary world, but it does have a certain meaning and people who use the label are often looked down on by "real" vegans and vegetarians. I think it's a shame and that people should be more accepting of the choices others make, especially when they are headed in the right direction.

Maybe we should be more accepting of people who
label themselves as flexitarian

A flexitarian is someone who moves between a standard omni diet and a vegan one, more or less. Basically, someone who considers their dietary commitment to be somewhat flexible. To many vegans, that just means they are omnivores who are trying to put a pretty face on it. That the new label is a way to make themselves feel better about eating animal products. Like they are being pretend vegans. I disagree (mostly). So I thought I would share my opinions on the flexitarian.

I will admit that someone who eats meat, eggs or dairy 6 days a week should accept that they are omnivores and stop trying to fool themselves. This is not really what a flexitarian is all about. But on the other hand, what about someone who eats plant-based-only most of the time, and only occasionally has a little meat or dairy? People who are making a conscious choice to eat vegan as best they can given their circumstances but aren't quite there yet. Perhaps due to a lack of family support, financial constraints, medical reasons or just a level of will-power still developing.

Too many see veganism as a level of absolutes. All animal products are bad, and so there are no shades of gray in the equation. All or nothing. Well, very little in life ever meets up to that level of thinking and it just leads to frustration for some people. In an ideal world, of course someone who is concerned about animal welfare would happily and easily cut out every single animal product without hesitation and never look back. Good luck with that.

I would rather see someone do their best to give up half their meat consumption and stop drinking milk (for example), than make no changes at all. What counts is that people are making a deliberate effort to reduce their use of animal products even if it's not at a level of perfection (yet). Every small change represents a smaller demand for animal products, and that means some good has come of it. Even something as tiny as switching your dairy milk to a non-dairy alternative, and nothing else. It all matters.

So don't think of a flexitarian as a fake vegan. They're more like vegans-in-training and deserve support and encouragement. As long as people, whether they identify as flexitarians or not, are trying to cut down on their consumption of any animal products, it's a good thing.

Hunter vs. Gatherer

I will be going to the city where I grew up in a month or two for a few days. When I left, I wasn't a vegan – I was a lapsing vegetarian. I'll be seeing a couple friends – they may not even know; one of them isn't on Facebook (gasp!).

So I've been thinking a lot about where I'll eat, how I'll eat, what I'll tell people if I eat at their homes. Do I take food with me? Am I going to be a royal pain to everyone? Most likely! But I'll take the ribbing from my brothers and I'll explain things to my friends.

One of my brothers is an avid hunter, and has been for a number of years. He only hunts what his family needs, he butchers and wraps it himself. Years ago, when I lived there, he used to give me venison from time to time and I'd cook it in a stew for my family. It was good and I enjoyed it. I wouldn't eat it now, but it was good meat and even then I felt better knowing that it hadn't been factory farmed, that up until that fateful moment when my brother saw and shot it, that deer had lived wild, not in some mass production farm living an awful life until slaughter day.

Everything is degrees. Do I want to see deer shot by hunters? No. But I really, really don't want to see cattle, and pigs and chickens living in tiny pens, some never even seeing the light of day, and then becoming someone's “healthy” dinner. I think, at the very least, we should take responsibility for what we are eating, rather than making it some else's problem. In that respect, my brother and his wife are ahead of me. They make most everything from scratch with good ingredients (I do not do this!) and when my brother wants meat for his family he goes out and gets it himself. At least that deer has a fighting chance. That deer lives in its natural habitat, eats what it's supposed to eat, has young and lives its deer life like God or Nature intended. That deer has a chance to get away from my hunter brother and if it doesn't – well it still got to be a deer.

Do I condone hunting you say? Nope. But when my son told me he'd like his uncle to teach him how to hunt I wasn't nearly as horrified as I would have been had he told me he'd gotten a job in a slaughter house, or even a factory farm. I know at least that if his uncle takes him hunting the rules will be followed and no animal will die a horrible death (yeah, I know, death is always horrible you'll say, but some are so much worse than others). Degrees.

There is an incredible disconnect going into the grocery store and buying meat that is nicely packaged on white styrofoam. You put it into your cart or your basket, and you take it home and make dinner out of it. You know it's an animal, but you didn't go out into the woods, or the plains or wherever and go get that pork chop. Cognitive dissonance. Google it. It's a thing and we've all suffered from it. There's no accountability when the “messiness” has all been done far away in some facility – then you really don't need to think about your pork chop, beyond which recipe you're going to use to prepare it.

I can remember when my kids were little, taking them to a petting zoo. They pet the piglets, and the calves, and the baby chicks and it was all lovely and we had a great time. Memories were made. Pictures were taken. It was adorable. And never once, in that entire day, did my brain remind me that an adorable animal was at home cooking in my crock pot. We went to the petting zoo, enjoyed the day and then went home and ate one.


Degrees. If my son learns to hunt, then so be it. Life is about choices and that is and will be his choice. If he bags a deer, I won't be thrilled, but I will know that he at least is making the connection about where his food comes from, and how it gets to his dinner plate. The grocery store just can't teach that kind of lesson.


Pizza on A Plant Based Lifestyle

(photos by Danielle)

Pizza is not something that you have to cut out on a plant-based lifestyle! Good news! There are so many amazing alternatives out in stores that are so amazing and that I enjoy using in many of my recipes. I have found so many recipes recently and there are still so many out there that I have not yet tried. I love doing pizza, especially when friends are over. Pizza seems to be a common food at casual gatherings, however, it can create a problem for people like myself who are unable to consume dairy. If you are the type of person who gets stomach pains from dairy, are allergic, or cut it out for ethical reasons, do not worry about it! There are so many new vegan cheeses that will not complicate your health for consuming. Also, if you are trying to stay away from the more processed ingredients, there are also so many recipes that you can make it homemade. I find a lot of recipes on youtube and Pinterest that are really helpful in finding delicious vegan recipes. 

I like to buy food from Trader Joes a lot because they have some great food that can be fun to make. I like to buy the cauliflower crust because it is on the healthier side and it is still delicious. If you do not have time to make pizza from scratch, there are also some great store-bought options that I will include below. 

Trader Joes has a great vegan cheese that I put on their pizza along with any choice of sauce. Then, you can choose your favorite toppings! 

(photos by Danielle)
(photos by Danielle)
(photos by Danielle)

For the pizza, I added bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, olives, tomatoes, and onions. I would recommend trying this because it was so delicious and colorful! I also added some bbq sauce for extra flavor. 

(photos by Danielle)
(photos by Danielle)
I also tried the Amy's roasted vegetable pizza. This one has no cheese, but you could certainly add a brand of vegan cheese, like the one from Trader Joes. 
(photos by Danielle)
(photos by Danielle)
If you want one that already comes with cheese, there is the vegan Margherita pizza, which was also delicious.

(photos by Danielle)
(photos by Danielle)
I hope you try some of these out and enjoy them! Happy Friday!

How Do You Show Appreciation?

In this week's blog, I wanted to talk about appreciation, give you a great, easy recipe and encourage you to support the effort to help pets find their forever homes!

Spinach stuffed Mushrooms recipe below

Last night I was with a group of my favorite women and we were discussing the topic of APPRECIATION and how do you show it.

 So this is my question to everyone who reads this blog. How do YOU show appreciation? What do you appreciate?

 Some people appreciate the fact that they can see because they know someone who is blind. Others may appreciate that they have a roof over their head and food in their stomach.

 In my opinion, one of the most important things is to appreciate the people in your life. Sometimes, we hear about untimely deaths or accidents and people have regrets for never telling the person they lost how much they appreciated them. This is especially fitting because Mother's Day is approaching. Many times, women especially are challenged by their Mother but never realize that maybe they were just doing the best they could with what they had. In one of my past blogs, I talked about a person being everything they are and everything they are not. This is something one of my closest friends says on a regular basis.

Most of the time, the things you may have resented the most were done out of love. What is a resentment? A few of the definitions of resentment are "bitterness, indignation, irritation or dissatisfaction". Sometimes it may take decades for someone to realize that something was done for other reasons than just to cause discontent. A great example of this is that I would never let my daughter sleep over any of her friend's houses. She" hated" me for years for "ruining her life" and not letting her do what all the other girls she knew were doing. However, now that she has three young daughters she understands the reasoning behind this and is in full support of my decision. Hopefully, her daughters will not hold this against her but as long as she held this against me. In our discussion the other night, mothers were a prevalent topic and many of the women realized exactly what their mother had done for them now that they were no longer here with them and maybe felt some regret because they never had the opportunity to acknowledge them or show some appreciation.. Don't wait until it is too late to show your appreciation. We can always look back and find the faults, but  challenge yourself to find some of the good. Whatever may have been done for you probably wasn't packaged the way you would have wanted it but there was love behind whatever they did for you.

The only perfect moms are on TV and they are only perfect because their lines were written for them as well as their children's lines. If you are a Mother or Grandmother, there will be days where you want to pull your hair out because the baby won't stop crying, the kids are running amok and you may feel like everything is totally out of control and that is where you may find yourself sounding exactly like your Mother even though you swore you never would use those same words.I am not saying you will be happy every moment of the day but every single day has at least one shining moment and that is where appreciation comes in.

I wanted to focus a little on Mothers but this holds true for everyone in your life. It is important to show appreciation. Sometimes we overlook this especially with the people closest to us because it is easy to take things and people for granted. Imagine if you woke up tomorrow and they weren't there, how would you feel if you never had a chance to thank you for everything they do or tell them how much they mean to you. This is also true in business. If you have staff, highlight a good job instead of being the boss that says you get paid for doing a good job. Thank them for everything they did that day. Like anything else the more someone feels valued, the more they want to do. On the other hand, if someone feels that they are being taken advantage of, they will start to have resentments.

For this week, I would encourage you to make a least one person in your life feel appreciated each day. Appreciation comes in many forms. It may be making a favorite meal, running an errand for them, just spending some time having a cup of coffee or even just telling them that you love them. Give your kids or grand kids some time by playing a game with them. Even your pet would appreciate your time by playing ball or taking them out for a walk.

 In my opinion appreciation is in the same category as being grateful for the people and things in your life.

Love like appreciation and gratitude is in endless supply. The more you use, the more you will have!

Nothing shows love like taking the time and making food for someone so I am sharing another one of my quick , easy recipes.

Stuffed Mushrooms

1 box large mushrooms
1 bag of spinach
1/2 onion chopped fine
Nutritional yeast
garlic powder
bread crumbs
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Clean the mushrooms with a damp cloth to remove any dirt. Gently remove the stems and chop them finely.
Steam the spinach in a bit of water under thoroughly wilted, remove from the pan, I drain thoroughly to remove all the excess liquid. (If you don't have fresh spinach, you can use frozen chopped spinach just make sure you squeeze out the excess moisture)
I then add some olive oil to the pan and heat before adding the mushroom stems and onion. Season with some garlic powder, salt and pepper. Once the onions are translucent, I then add the spinach. Depending on the moisture in the pan, I may add a bit more olive oil and bead crumbs to get the right consistency to stuff my mushrooms. Once they are stuffed with this mixture, I sprinkle the nutritional yeast on top before putting in the oven at 300 degrees. I usually leave them in until the mushroom cap is tender approximately 20 minutes.

You can also use portobello mushrooms if you want to make this more of a main course instead of an appetizer. As always I like to provide some framework and then encourage you to make this recipe your own. Please share any variations that you come up with, I am always looking for new ideas to try out.

Sorry there is not a lot of pictures, they were gone as soon as they came out of the oven.

In closing, for anyone that is friends with me on facebook, you know I am constantly sharing photos of pets that need homes, or have gotten lost or that someone found. Some people may find this annoying but I do it for a a specific reason. The more times a picture is shared, the better the chances of that animal either finding their family, or having the chance to be adopted therefore I would encourage each and every one of you out there to do the same thing. It doesn't cost you anything and you may save a life. How great is that? It is a little thing and it truly can make a big difference. We may not be able to change the world but even if we can change the world for one animal it is worth it!

Have a great week and please share any feedback you have about this week's post. I look forward to seeing your comments.

With Gratitude,


For the Vegan Munchies

Now, we all know that good little vegans only snack on healthy treats like carrot sticks and apple slices. Ha! I think not. We all get crazy munchies and junk food cravings just like everyone else, and it's actually not that hard to get your snack on with plant-based goodies. And while there are some awesome specialty products on the market, like kale chips or quinoa puffs, you can actually find a huge range of vegan snacks on your standard supermarket shelves if you know where to look.

A few of the easy-to-find vegan snacks that I'm noshing on these days.

Crispy and Salty
This is my preferred snack category and I am a complete sucker for chips or popcorn. The biggest pitfall is the ever popular cheese flavor so if you stay away from that, you'll find that most brands are free of animal products. Oh, sour cream flavors are another no-no.

Classic flavors like plain, salted, all dressed, onion, BBQ, dill pickle, and salt & vinegar, are all safe and delicious. The current trend of meat-based flavors like poutine, chili and chicken wings are all out (usually because of dairy rather than actual meat though).

Potato chips, corn chips, sunflower seeds, pretzels and non-buttered popcorn are all excellent choices. In fact, some brands of "buttered" popcorn are still vegan because they manage to get that flavor without using any real butter. Scary, but vegan. Did you know that even Doritos have a vegan variety? Their spicy sweet chili chips are free from animal products and are super tasty.

If you prefer crackers for your crunch fix, Wheat Thins and Triscuits both have a whole bunch of vegan crackers that are yummy.

Sweet and Chewy
I'm talking candy here, for the snackers with a sweet tooth. My personal favorite is the standard jujube, and as long as you read the ingredients and avoid gelatin, they're easy enough to find. Many jelly beans, licorice, jujubes, hard candy and gumdrops can be found that are vegan. Gummy candies (think bears or worms) are a little tougher as they generally have gelatin.

I suppose some people would lump chocolate in with candy but I figured it deserved a mention by itself. Dark chocolate is vegan but (obviously) milk chocolate is not, and that is by far the more common variety out there in the snack world. Chocolate-covered anything is almost always milk chocolate. Bars of dark chocolate are in any supermarket, and you might have to settle for that format to satisfy your needs. Our Bulk Barn carries a few chocolate-covered nuts and such treats with dark chocolate though, so I know they are out there.

Ice Cream
This one is a tough one since the fundamental ingredient in ice cream is cream. There are more and more non-dairy versions out there now, using coconut or cashew milk as the base. You can also find varieties of sorbet in most stores that are dairy-free, and don't have the premium vegan price tag. Chapman's has a chocolate sorbet that is excellent.

The last snacky group I'm looking at is cookies. Out of all the types of food mentioned, this is probably the hardest to find vegan without resorting to specialty stores and custom brands. Baked goods of all varieties commonly have milk or egg ingredients in them. Oddly enough, Oreos are a famous example of an "accidentally vegan" cookie that you can indulge in. Some brands of ginger snaps and graham crackers are also vegan.

My 3 Favorite Spiritual Podcast Channels

            Confession Time: In the last year or so, I have become a podcast addict. I listen to podcasts at the gym, while walking to class, while cleaning my room, even while taking a bath. It is quite an obsession. However, I think it is a good thing because some podcasts have completely changed my life. The three I am mentioning in this post, in particular, are incredibly inspirational when it comes to believing in myself, realizing what is truly important in life, and keeping my spirits high when life throws me curveballs.  

1)    Your Own Magic
      This is my favorite podcast of all time. I can honestly say it has changed the way I live my life for the better. Allie Michelle and Raquelle Mantra host this podcast channel with the intention of inspiring and empowering people to live their best life. They interview spiritual thought leaders, entrepreneurs, and visionaries from around the world to share their wisdom and knowledge on a variety of topics to help us unleash our own magic. They also have a number of episodes that are on their own, and these episodes are actually my favorites. I look forward to their new episodes every Monday so I can open my ears and my heart to what they have to share that day! There is also a Facebook group for all their loyal podcast listeners to connect with each other and make friends J I have met the most beautiful people through this group.

2)    Highest Self Podcast
      Sahara Rose is the wonderful host of this podcast channel. She is a Certified Ayurvedic, Holistic and Sports Nutritionist who is passionate about bringing ancient spiritual wisdom into our modern lifestyles. Sahara shares her stories of doing volunteer work in over 40 countries, how she got into the wellness world, and encourages listeners to follow their dreams and become their highest selves. She also interviews astounding health experts and Ayurvedic practitioners in effort to awaken people to their mind-body connection. My favorite thing about this podcast is how REAL Sahara is when telling her stories. She explains that you do not have to move to a secluded island and meditate all day to be spiritual; it is just about living in the present as your truest self and doing what makes you feel your best.

3)    The Balanced Blonde/ Soul on Fire
Hosted by Jordan Younger, a certified health coach and yoga instructor, The Balanced Blonde podcast is perfect for anyone looking to learn more about spiritual topics such as crystals, yoga, meditation, business, blogging, and all things wellness. While there are some solo episodes, Jordan mostly has guest speakers to come spread their knowledge about wellness topics. I love this channel because Jordan makes all of her interviews just sound like normal conversations you would have with your best friends at brunch. Every episode is so informational and inspires me to learn more about the wellness world. I highly recommend checking out this channel if you would like to dive more into the health aspects of the spiritual world.

          These channels have also opened my eyes to an entire world of spirituality that I never knew existed. I didn’t think I would be kind of person to drink mushroom coffee while meditating with my amethyst crystal, but here I am. I feel so much more aligned with the universe and happy with my life, and I hope these podcasts bring you happiness too! Please let me know if you listen to them and tell me your favorite podcasts in the comments below.