Creative Expressions and Barefoot Wanders

There are so many mediums that can be used to express ourselves. As a kid, I found myself writing poetry, painting, playing sports, baking, and selling jewelry like a lemonade stand. There wasn’t one medium that engulfed my focus; it was all of them. I enjoyed using different tools and experimenting. Some may say this isn’t the best way to become an ‘expert’ at one thing.

But I feel the opposite.

All of these mediums have been part of my journey and maybe one day I will just use one but until then I will keep adventuring through them all.

However, one expression I come back to all the time is writing.

The Most Powerful Times I Enjoy Writing:

Waking up in the early morning when the world is still silent with my pen and journal in hand is one of my favorite times to let me brain wander, or into a fast, whether that is green juice or water. My writing peeks and I will sit there for hours streaming words down onto a sheet/napkin/or iPad.

Back in 2015, I was a few days into an all-green vegetable juice fast when I found myself building a blog. I have never done this before and didn’t know where to start.

But within a few hours I had created Barefoot Wanders.

Barefoot Wanders

This blog started as a space for me to become more vulnerable.

I write. Sometimes it’s not linear, and maybe from the conscious mind it is not always grammatically correct. But here I write to express, to open, to love, and to share the minutes of my life that are vulnerable and overflowing with endless streams of words.

Overtime, I have been given signs to start writing on a platform that isn’t my journal where it is just me, blank pages and my security blanket. A space where someone may discover along their journey that is potentially will shift shapes within them.

This brought me to the internet, a platform easily accessible to all. Maybe people will start to read and relate, maybe they won’t. I am okay with that. There is a lot that goes on in our brain day-to-day, moment to moment, and we don’t always feel it’s worthy of expression or necessary.

But it is! Our voice matters. Every letter that forms a word has so much vibration. Share! Express!

Sharing doesn’t always have to come in the form of verbal words. You can find tools that work for you, such as: journaling, drawing, dancing, walking, blogging, hugging, connecting eyes, playing a sport, body language, silence, sitting together, singing, playing a instrument; yes talking can be it, too.

I am positive that some of our thoughts that may make us feel isolated at times don’t just happen to us singularly. I believe that we create ideas/concepts/terms that, if shared openly, can and will create more community and togetherness. The person next you may just be feeling the same way. With communication in all forms, we connect and can relate. Holding the space for each other without judgement or attachment.

We are one!

So there I was creating a blog and writing, with space for anything and everything. Giving myself a place that isn’t my business, that isn’t linear. Rather, it is a place that feeds my love rather than fear. (Even though it can be really freaking scary to share some of the chaos.)

Share from the heart and wander into all corners of your spirits, barefoot of course!

If we aren’t our raw selves, than who are we?

Feeling inclined to see the blog? I only add pieces when I am usually fasting. But feel free to stumble over by clicking Barefoot Wanders.


By Brittany Reid

I Never Imagined I Would Write a Cookbook

Back in January of 2015, I experienced one of the most profound meditations of my life. During this experience, a series of events occurred through me. With a feeling so raw and real, I have been quietly creating a piece of me: The Consciously Living Cookbook.

Some Background

While my sister and I were in Bali early last year, I met a man. He was explaining to me how there is no need to keep this new-found knowledge and motivation tucked away in my journal until it was fully ready. He inspired me to keep listening to my inner voice when moments like this occur. He also reminded me that I should talk about it and with talking, a flow of energy will come.

An energy of community.

In the past few months, I have started to talk about it out loud. I’m ready…and, I feel the community. I feel union.

The Cookbook

So here I am, telling the universe through this online network. I am in the process of creating a book (an e-book version will be available too). This book uncovers all that I teach individuals, the way I live, and my psychology of eating.

It includes consciously living principles and practices, meditations/asana, how I can suggest to live more authentically, recipes that nourish the body, tools to use when moving through blockages, an 8 week program, and a community page to connect like-minded people.

It’s not just a cookbook; it’s truly a life book.

The Blog

I sat at my computer every day writing; it wouldn’t stop coming through me. There was no intention of anyone reading the blog post, but I figured I would allow my journey to be potentially stumbled upon. This blog is a space where I write without linearity. It is a place where I let out all the mish-mash. This to me is art and chatter that is released through my fasting journeys. A form of Morning Pages (a post about this coming soon).

I feel the urge to speak about the journey and talk about the blockages.

Maybe it is time to start filming.


By Brittany Reid

5 New Ways to Love the Earth Every Day

I bet you think this blog is going to be about recycling. Spoiler alert: it’s not! (But that’s a good way to love the earth, too.) There are tons of ways we all contribute to showing our love for Mother Nature everyday, such as conserving water, reusing food containers, taking back our bottles, and buying hybrids.

But what else can we do to make a larger impact?

Doing the things I mentioned above is fantastic, but there are other things you can do that will garner the most bang for your buck–things that make a massive impact, but take no time at all.

Here are 5 new ways to love the earth every single day:

Go Vegan

Yep–this is the number one thing you can do to support your environment and planetary health. The amount of methane that’s produced by farmed cattle is 25 times more than what we breathe out in carbon dioxide. That’s crazy!

In the 2006 report (Livestock’s Long Shadow) released by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN, it states that “the livestock sector is a major stressor on many ecosystems and on the planet as a whole. Globally, it is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gases and one of the leading causal factors in the loss of biodiversity, while in developed and emerging countries it is perhaps the leading source of water pollution.” (1)

So consider incorporating a vegan diet into your weekly meal plans–you’d be literally saving the planet. Like a superhero.

If you need some recipe ideas, visit my Recipes page.

Wear Kindness

Do you know where your clothes came from, or how they are made? Most of us don’t, and that’s okay. But if you truly want to do everything you can for Mother Nature, you should probably try and purchase environmentally-friendly clothing.

So what exactly is environmentally-friendly clothing?

Clothing that falls under this term is usually made from recycled materials, and is locally produced. This way, you support recycling and locally-made goods all in one. (Local is great, because it means that limited fossil fuels were used in shipping the clothing from another area of the world to yours.)

Brown is the New Green

In terms of grass, that is. Each year, billions or litres of water is used to keep conventional lawns lush and green. But what for? Aesthetics only? Umm…yep! So why not convince your neighbours that the amount of water used is harmful, and if everyone rallies together, your neighbourhood can rock the brown and do its part for the planet?

You’ve been officially challenged!

Support Local

This small switch in grocery brand preference has an incredible impact on our climate. Think about the amount of fossil fuels it takes every single day to truck loads of food across the country. Better yet, think of everything that’s flown and shipped!

By choosing to support locally made goods as opposed to ones that require extensive travel, you’re singlehandedly cutting back on unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions–and that’s amazing.

Plant Some Wildflowers

Want to support the recent ‘save the bees’ campaign? It’s as easy as helping them eat. Chemical components such as pesticides have made an enormously negative impact on the world’s bee population. This is a serious issue, because without bees, we don’t have food.

Period. Like, any food.

Start this summer by planting a variety of wildflowers in and around your home, or even a flower-free field! Bees need their food in order for us to be able to harvest ours. By planting wildflowers, you’re doing the entire world a big, amazing favour.


By Jennifer Browne


Reference

(1) Livestock’s Long Shadow

Nobody Talks about These 3 Benefits of Yoga

We’ve all heard about the many benefits of yoga. Yoga helps us with developing strength and flexibility. It brings us back to our center. It makes us slow down and remember that we are each just one tiny part of our incredibly massive universe.

But what about the benefits of yoga that nobody’s talking about? Here are 3:

Yoga Teaches Us Patience

Yes, patience. And not just for ourselves; for everyone around us. Our lives are always so busy that time goes by in a snap and we often find ourselves snapping at our kids, our spouse, or our coworkers. But why?

Time is an illusion. We invented it. We live by it, but it doesn’t actually mean anything. That’s not to say that deadlines can be missed or important events put off. It means that we don’t need to curse at the driver ahead of us for going the speed limit, or rush our children out the door on a weekend.

So what does yoga have to do with this?

Yoga teaches us to consciously breathe, and more importantly, breathe out what no longer serves us. If your body is resistant to something, breathe. When you feel your anxiety rising, breathe. The mindful breathing practices that are so synonymous with the practice of yoga are calming and teach us to be more patient.

And everyone knows that patience is a virtue.

Yoga is Humbling

Sitting in a crowded room full of people from all walks of life that we either barely know or don’t know at all can be incredibly humbling. It reminds us to not take ourselves so seriously. We are all but one being in a world of billions–a minuscule piece of the puzzle that is existence. We can be stressed and angry, or we can be kind and supportive.

The decision to be humble is a choice, and yoga reminds us of that.

Yoga Forces Us to Think Differently

What do I mean by differently? I mean that when you’re laying on your mat in Savasana, with nothing to do but close your eyes and breathe for 5-10 minutes, there is a different kind of thought process that naturally occurs. We’re supposed to be actively trying not to think, but realistically, even the method of attempting to attain that goal makes us think in a way we usually don’t.

This alternate thinking pattern is both valuable and necessary. It gently forces us to not focus on our own issues, but instead, focus on accepting them and moving on–if only for 5-10 minutes.

So the next time someone suggests you attend a yoga class because it will help your tight hamstrings (which it will!), remember that the benefits of yoga extend far beyond that. If you’re interested in scheduling a private yoga class with Brittany, please contact her on her Find page. You can also read more about what types of classes she offers by going to her Services page.

Namaste.


By Jennifer Browne


Image by Parallel Yoga in Abbotsford, British Columbia

Nourishing Yourself with Plants

It’s funny how so many people find themselves confused about the nutrient content of plants, yet we forget that some of the biggest, healthiest species in the world were vegetarian or vegan! Gorillas, elephants, and even plenty of dinosaurs are or were veggie lovers!

Here are 5 benefits to consuming a plant-based diet:

Your Body Absorbs Better Quality Nutrients

Plants are teeming with a huge variety of vitamins and minerals, not to mention fibre, protein, and healthy carbohydrates. They can also be very medicinal. Herbs are Mother Nature’s medicine, and keep your body feeling whole and balanced.

You Tread More Lightly on Our Planet

Farming meat is incredibly destructive to our planet, the animals that are farmed, and the health of those who eat the bounty. The agricultural industry is the leading contributor to methane gas being released into our atmosphere at a rate of 25 times carbon dioxide.

That’s enough information right there to make my head spin. What about you?

You Will Never Suffer from Digestive Problems

When your body is being cared for and nurtured by nature’s intended food (not commercially prepared, herbicide-ridden, genetically modified, bleached food), it shows. What would your body have to complain about? There is no lack of fibre, water, or nutrients.

Every calorie counts, and your digestive system knows it.

It’s Generally Inexpensive

It is WAY cheaper to produce plants than meat. Period. So it would make sense that plants cost consumers less than meat, right?

You Feel Amazing and Retain a Healthy Body Weight

Just like your digestive system needs no assistance when being served up veggies, your body doesn’t pack on extra pounds of empty calories. Your body will naturally rest at its ideal weight, and you’ll feel great about that.

So next time you’re in the grocery store or at the farmer’s market or harvesting and foraging your own food, remember how important it is to eat plenty of plants. Your body will thank you. And if you need help with figuring out how to cook for your new lifestyle, take advantage of Brittany’s plant-based cooking classes!


By Jennifer Browne

Ashwagandha to the Rescue

Its 2016 now and I feel like every five minutes there is some new herb every health blog and magazine is raving about. And apparently these days if Dr.Oz’s says it works, there it goes flying’ off the shelves. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good trend (I’m lookin’ at you high-waisted shorts), but I am also wary of the legitimacy of some of these products. Now I am just judgey by nature, so if I am recommending something (especially a herb) you better believe I know it works. Enter Ashwagandha. (Basically, the BEYONCE of herbs.) I know you’re probably thinking Ash-WTF is she talking about? But let me just fill you in. Ashwagandha, also referred to as Withania, is an herb native to India. It is an adaptogen. What is an adaptogen you ask? It is a herb that adapts to your needs within the body. For example, if you are exhausted, it will give you what you need to get your energy flowing, or if you are stressed the eff out, it will lower those stress hormones significantly. I was blessed with some anxiety loving genes (thanks mom and dad), so I have had my days of debilitating worry. Whether it be money issues, school stress, moving across the country, or simply the insecurities that come along with dating apps, I have spent some sleepless nights trying to deal with this. After learning about ashwagandha in class, I decided to give it a whirl. I bought a tonic, which is just the herb soaked in alcohol and then strained. The bottle said take it three times a day in a little bit of water, when I was feeling lazy (which was most of the time) I would just squeeze the dropper right into my mouth and follow with a couple of sips of water. I am not exaggerating when I say my anxiety disappeared. It wasn’t like I woke up one morning and little blue birds got me dressed or anything, but all of the sudden, things just didn’t make me so worried anymore. I was able to handle stress better, and I also got my chocolate stress eating under control, which was a miracle in itself. Maybe you have read this post and your eyes have rolled so far back into your head you can see your brain, and you think I have just been drinking this west coast kombucha kool-aid, but I did a little experiment and stopped taking ashwagandha just to see if this was a placebo sort of situation or maybe seasonal affective disorder (SAD), but within days of stopping, that anxiety came back as aggressive as a desperate ex-boyfriend. Ashwagandha is not exclusive to anxiety disorders. It can be used even during times of short amounts of stress; like finals season, the holidays, or even at the beginning stages of a relationship. Even if you tend to get sick a lot, prevent that shit and use some ashwagandha. To get a little deep, life is too short to let your own brain keep you from being the dopest person you can be. So get yourself some of this adaptogenic gold and go make the world a better place. Full disclosure: I do not take anti-anxiety medications, but ashwagandha is completely fine to take alongside those. Just be sure to work with your doctor to sort out what will work best for you!


By Stevie Johns

Dating Apps are Ruining Us

I love convenience just as much as everyone. Seriously, I do. I will pay $3.00 for a clove of garlic just because the gourmet grocery store is so close, and that Starbucks App is a work of art.  But when it comes to dating, having our next partner virtually in our pocket is going to fuck our whole generation up. I’m not sitting here giving you my opinions with absolutely no personal experience. I have gone on tinder dates, bumble dates, the rare real date, and I’m 85% I was almost the victim of a catfishing plot. So with some experience in the matter, here is what I have learned: These Apps Will Ruin Your Self-Esteem Having a dating platform strictly based on looks is like having your high school frenemy be your job reference–it’s a bad fucking idea. You present yourself through a very curated set of photos (all flattering and filtered, of course) and you are playing a high stakes game of poker with your self-worth and insecurities. You get a little thrill when you get that match, but a disproportionate amount of self doubt when you don’t. And the coolest guys I have met? I wasn’t necessarily attracted to them based off of how they looked. Personality wins every time. We are All Becoming Socially Inept Weirdos  As one of my favorite podcasters (Brian Howie) has said “the world is the best dating site.” We have stopped giving each other any sort of real life cues of attraction.  Now that we have this electronic safety net, we avoid each other. Why would I approach that cute guy at the gym if I can just swipe right anxiety-free? Even if you decide to get a little crazy one day and flirt with a stranger, chances of it going anywhere in that moment are slim, especially if they are drinking that Tinder kool-aid, because they were probably swiping their little thumbs off right before you talked to them. I cannot tell you the amount of times, I have had a great conversation with a cute stranger and have been silently screaming “ASK ME FOR MY NUMBER!” Chemistry is Being Lost Unfortunately, apps don’t account for chemistry. I have gone on dates with people that were funny via text and in person I had to fake laugh my way through the date, or there was just no chemistry there. When someone asks you out in person there is usually an some form of attraction, and if there isn’t, you would just politely decline. Instead, we end up dedicating several hours to dates with strangers who we might not even be attracted to because we both swiped right! Right?! Now after this little list, what is my ultimate advice? A dating app cleanse. Remove the apps off your phone, try it for a couple of months and just see how you feel. Get out into the real world and deal with the terrible anxiety of being rejected. Worst case scenario, someone will politely reject you, you take a couple of tequila shots, and you will move on. (Or ask your friends to set you up. You never know if they have a friend of a friend with a hot ass sibling!) Let’s use the apps for what they do best…getting pizza delivered at 1am and swapping faces with your dog.


By Stevie Johns