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Hey my villagers!

As I wait in line to checkout at the grocery store, I love to see what the person in front of me is purchasing. Maybe it’s a love for psychology or health, but I find it fascinating what others are eating, and who they are buying for.

A single women could be purchasing some organic veggies for herself, then a bag of Cheetos for the husband, then some jars of baby food for the newborn. I look into my cart and laugh at myself when I see what I’m purchasing, especially when I’m buying for the whole family. People are probably SO confused and probably think I have some sort of split personality when they see organic nuts, fruits and veggies, then lunch meat and waffles for the daycare kids and my father.

I think it is so interesting to understand peoples’ relationships with food, and their self-image {that’s another blog post for another day with social media}. Thinking about how different my family members are in terms of their own health journeys, I decided to come up with 4 different perspectives or munching mindsets that you could probably relate to. You might have one, or two or all if you are constantly changing in your journey!

So here they are:

  1. The Pizza King
  • My father will literally eat everything and anything. We call him the virtual vacuum cleaner, always cleaning up leftovers and scavenging for anything he can find. NO restriction here. LOL
  • He loves his frozen pizza, chicken wings and beer but is always willing to try my latest smoothie and healthy baked good creation! He’s a health wannabe, but always falls back into his Whopper and late night snacking ways.

munching mindsets, pizza king

2. The Bodybuilder

  • My brother Jim has been athletic his whole life, and is naturally awesome at every sport {a little jelly}. Now as an adult, he thrives in the gym, and eats to fuel his muscles. He enjoys lean proteins, veggies and protein shakes with whey protein, and takes supplements to support his muscle recovery. He enjoys his share of alcohol and fried foods, but is all about maintaining a strong mind and body.

munching mindsets, bodybuilder

3. The Dieting Diva

  • My mother will eat anything that promotes weight loss. She has been on every program, including Weight Watchers and Ideal Protein, the two she continues to adhere to. She enjoys her beverages most than food {loves wine and her zero calorie Steaz} and exercises because she knows if she keeps moving, so will the weight off her body. She is a vegetarian, and sticks to her low carb, tofu stir fries and eggs, but will always have her ‘cheat days’ on the weekends.
  • I love that I have influenced her enough that she incorporates healthy superfoods into her life, and is encouraged by my own physical activity and healthy cooking lifestyle to find a balance between health and dieting.

munching mindsets, diet diva

4. The Holistic Hippie

  • If you haven’t figured out by now, I love my share of healthy life giving foods. I love plants that fuel me and make me feel good, including superfoods, veggies, low glycemic fruits and nuts/seeds.
  • I like to have variety and enjoy some salmon, eggs and bone broth from time to time as I don’t believe in labels that restrict and limit. I always want to be open minded enough to listen to my body and respect what changing foods it needs. I am all about the mind, body and soul and spend my time meditating, doing yoga, and mindfully cooking with love.
  • I don’t have ‘cheat days’ because I believe this is a lifestyle, and don’t eat things that aren’t good for my stomach and my soul.

munching mindsets, holistic hippie

So where do you fit?!

Are you hopping from diet to diet trying to change your eating habits? Do you leave no limits but need to figure out what foods are affecting you? {I suggest an elimination diet}. Are you eating processed food? Do you eat to fuel your muscle growth? Or are you looking to find balance in all aspects of your life and want to begin with food?

Maybe by understanding WHY you eat what you eat, you can begin to change your patterns that are not benefitting your health and adapt more positive habits that promote healthier meals and fitness practices.

munching mindsets, healthy dessert
I do have my share of sweets {the healthy version} (beet brownies with homemade hemp milk)

I encourage you to listen to your bodies and examine your current lifestyle in order to become more mindful and incorporate plants into your life. Be kind to yourself and accept where you are on your health journey!!

Peace & Love,

Jill – your veggie villager xx

Hey my villagers!

I’ve recently been sharing about my meditation practice with a friend who is a Christian and was confused about how to meditate when it is primarily a Buddhist practice. When some hear about meditation and want to start practicing it, they are lost as to how to begin and how to customize their practice to their own lives and belief systems.

meditation

Today, the whole health movement has made meditation so easy with new apps and podcasts that can get you closer to your spirit and God. Meditation also has SO MANY amazing benefits not only mentally, but physically and spiritually! [Some awesome apps include Headspace, Presence, and Breathe can help you get started! Also podcasts provide great info – check out TUHP here!]

meditation

In my own life, I have started a morning routine that takes about 30 minutes without me ever getting out of bed! I begin with my Bible, notebook and God – allowing Him to speak through his Word to me and applying it throughout my day. I love my mini Message Bible and read one chapter a day, then reflect on that and journal my own thoughts, goals for the day and things I want to accomplish short and long term.

Next, I go through 5 minutes of stretching, and always do some type of inversion [a 30 second inversion can give you the same amount of energy as if you had 3 extra hours of sleep apparently ;)] I then sit up and go through some breathing exercises and pray, being aware of my mood, attitude and intention for my day.

meditation

In order to find what works for you, here are 5 things to focus on and incorporate into your practice. Remember it’s a practice that can be easier some days than others. Your practice can become a routine after consecutive days spent chilling out with yourself and God!

Keep in mind:

1. Breathe.

Focus on deep breathing, being aware of how your body feels. Get creative and try different techniques [I love breathe of fire!]. I absolutely love Gabrielle’s guide and book on how to begin your breathing practice. Apply your breathing techniques to your daily life, easing anxiety in highly stressful situations.

meditation

2. Be Present.

Ditch your phone when you wake up, taking time for yourself and for God. Don’t submit to others’ agendas and bombard your mind with too much information and stimulation. Truly listen to your body, mind and soul and know that God gave you this new and beautiful day to bring your untainted light to this world.

3. Pray.

Taking time to be still and listen to God and yourself can give you invaluable insight to God’s plans for your life. Be grateful for the day – writing down your blessings can be a great reminder.

meditation

4. Surrender.

Allow yourself to fully surrender to the moment and to God, with no expectations. Don’t judge or be hard on yourself, and try to create a space where you can flourish. Make sure those around you know you need your personal time in order for you to be the best version of you so you can love them even more.

5. Smile.

During your practice, remember to smile! Smiling can affect your mood and chemically change your brain, making you even more successful, productive, and loving throughout your day. Your focus can be on making others feel encouraged and welcomed by your Spirit through a simple smile.

meditation

6. Connect.

Your atmosphere definitely can change the way you meditate. Try forest bathing, walking meditation, laying down, sitting inside or outside – whatever connects you to a higher power that protects and guides you.

Meditation

I challenge you to start your meditation journey this week and try new practices, seeing what works for you. Whether it be journaling, praying, breathing, stretching, do whatever puts you in the right mindset for the day and allows you to feel your best so you can be successful and ultimately, happy and at peace with yourself and others.

Take your practice to the next level and incorporate it throughout your day – being mindful when you are driving, exercising, cooking, eating and spending time with friends. You will feel more focused, free and ALIVE and marvel at the beauty in life.

Enjoy your summer and take time to breathe during the busy-ness!

Peace & Love,

Jill – your veggie villager xx

 

 

 

Hey guys!

This is a very personal topic to me but I feel I need to share my experience to make other women aware of how delicate our hormones are and the balance of them.

My experience with healing my hormones has been a three-year messy journey, beginning when I decided to see a doctor and a dermatologist about my acne. At the time I was 16, living off Kraft Dinner and peanut M&M’s. NO wonder my skin was a mess. How naïve and uneducated I was with the better alternatives – but with recommendations from both doctors I got onto the birth control train and soon was derailed. It made my cramps worse, my skin wasn’t any better, and I was an emotional wreck.

So with no improvement, I eased off the pills and at the same time, I entered into a world of embracing plants and exercise into my daily routine. I stopped using chemicals on my face, refusing to expose myself to toxins. I WAS DONE.

I became educated. As a longtime vegetarian, I began to truly learn the basics of how to eat and prepare whole foods and living a holistic life – transitioning from watching TV to getting outside and enjoying nature. During this transitional time, I seemed to have lost my period. For a whole year. I thought, it must just be my body transitioning – I mean it had to be a shock to my system. I needed help.

So I sought out the advice of a naturopath who told me to take chaste tree and eat specific seeds according to the moon cycles (since our periods are influenced by the energy of the moon). I also went to the chiropractor and with both of their efforts, finally had a period!! Who knew a woman could be so excited to get their period! But after that first time, another year went by without a normal period. I got a little too excited too fast.

I also ate primarily vegan at this time, and started trying different types of vegan diets to see what worked best for my hormones. I tried a mostly raw and high fruit diet, dabbled with a high carb and low fat lifestyle, and even experimented with a high fat diet with an emphasis on nuts, only to see my skin get worse and no difference in my hormones. Feeling desperate and searching through every single article on the Internet on how to fix hormones naturally, I started eating eggs again to see if that would make a difference. Again, nothing.

I was tested for food sensitivities and allergies by a homeopathic doctor, and was told my body wasn’t properly metabolizing sugars. So I began a candida cleanse, eating little to no sugar and no grains and nourishing my skin with healthy fats including avocado and coconut. I felt my blood sugar was stabilized as I was less hungry as often and started feeling my best, but still had no period and persistent breakouts.

Recently, I went to a different naturopath and she told me that she thought I had PCOS, which I thought about but didn’t have many of the obvious symptoms. She thought I was doing everything right, and suggested that I try acupuncture – the only last thing I hadn’t attempted. She also gave me inositol to try, as I assume my body became immune to the chaste tree (it was doing nothing!).

Then miraculously, within TWO days, my period came back! I continue to eat a vegan diet high in good omega 3 fatty acids and my skin has been thankful ever since. It has been a crazy journey, but I think that once you find what works for you and your body through your diet, supplements and treatments, you will be surprised to see how quickly your body can heal itself.

Here are a few tips I have if you are a hormonal mess like I was:

  1. Ditch birth control

Birth control pills mimic your hormones and fill your body with confusing signals and chemicals that lead to more health problems. Try using an app that tracks your cycles like Kindara and if you are on the pill to heal your skin – you need to find the root cause of your skin issues, not just using the pill as a quick fix to your symptoms.

  1. Stay moving

I find getting my daily exercise in through rebounding, resistance training and yoga has helped my skin and regulated my sleep, stress and hormone levels.

  1. Eat foods that fuel your hormones

I found that by eating a diet higher in good omega 3 fats through avocado, hemp and chia seeds, and less grains (omega 6s) and fruit (some have high glycemic indexes and can spike blood sugar), I was able to stabilize my blood sugar and regulate my hormones. I also have at least 2 servings of veggies at each meal, with a mix of raw and cooked plants to help my digestion. I try to eat as many alkaline foods as possible, supplying my microbiome with probiotics and clean veggie fuel to support my hormone production.

  1. Get a good face cleanser

I ditched the chemicals and body washes and started using Eminence Organics products for my acne prone skin and a rose and neroli hydrosol. I also have incorporated essential oils like lavender, rosemary and peppermint into my daily routine to keep my stress to a minimum and improve the quality of my sleep.

  1. Find natural alternatives and treatment

If you have tried a supplement for a while and you don’t see results, it’s clearly not working for your body. Try getting a second opinion from a different naturopath, or experiment with treatments like reiki or acupuncture  in order to start seeing positive changes.

I encourage you to be patient and not give up on your body. It will figure itself out, just find the treatments that work for you, the foods that support your hormones and be kind to yourself.

Peace & Love,

Jill – your veggie villager xx

Hey my people!!

Today I wanted to share all that I have learned from being on this planet in just three words. It is the foundation of achieving your ultimate health, your highest potential, and exceeding every goal you set for yourself. It is my motto, what I believe in and apply to every aspect of my life to achieve balance and beauty. Are you dying to know?

Quality not Quantity. 

How does this apply? You start by being INTENTIONAL. 
  1. HEALTH

  • Nutrition

Focus on the quality of the foods in your diet. They should be whole foods, not packaged with added ingredients – the LESS ingredients that you can read and understand, the better. You will need LESS food that contains MORE nutrients and vitamins – packed with life, not PRE-packaged and unrecognizable. Be smart about your cooking and put love into your food – pray and be grateful before taking the first bite.

  • Sleep

Focus on the quality of the sleep you are getting. Put away the electronics and pull out a book before bed. Journal, have some tea, don’t eat before bed and let your body rest. You will feel energized in the morning, starting your day as the best version of you. No matter how many hours you have, you can feel exhausted when your sleep is interrupted, or you are stimulated before bed by your external environment.

  • Exercise

Don’t meander around the gym, or get distracted by chores in the house, making your exercise session an hour long. Get moving!! Using high intensity interval training (HITT) or doing some type of circuit is so much more efficient and effective. You can get in a great workout in 20 minutes, being focused on the quality of the time spent on you and your physical goals, rather than on the time you are spending ‘exercising.’ The harder you work, the faster you will see results.

secret, chia pudding

2. PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT

  • Learning

You are never too young or old to continue to learn. I have realized that it isn’t the amount of time spent studying or researching you spend, but rather how efficient you are with your time. Making a schedule to study for every subject for a few hours each day is the best way to achieve your learning goals.

When you are focused and intentional in the time spent, you get so much more done – get engaged and be passionate about what you are absorbing in order to be an expert sooner.

Yes it takes 10,000 hours in anything to be an expert – but how much of that time was spent in deliberate practice – deliberate studying?! Time that is concentrated and alone, with repetition and understanding is your key to success.

  • Productivity

Are you investing in you? Use your precious time to do things you love – don’t be mindlessly consumed by useless TV shows and websites. Try a new sport, spend some time outside, take up a new hobby, write, dance or have a creative date with yourself to unleash your potential as a human being – and watch what amazing things can come out of you simply by reducing the quantity of time spent doing unproductive things.  

  • Narrow

Set a daily intention and get really good at it. Become an expert in something you are passionate about, and narrow in what you want to commit your time to – whether it be volunteering, working, or doing school work. Make commitments and pour yourself into them to get the most out of it. 

Journal it out.

3. RELATIONSHIPS

  • Connection

Get off your phone, make eye contact and be present when interacting with others. The quality of conversations should go beyond the how are you? Good. Get deeper by actively engaging in others and investing your time and interest in them. Understand how you can better serve as a listener and a friend.

  • Pockets

Have small pockets of friends in each area of your life. Some at work, at school, where you volunteer and always your core best friends and family members who will be there for you to share this crazy beautiful life together. It’s not about how many fluffy friends you have, but about how deep and healthy the relationships you do have that will support your own personal growth and make you laugh along the way.

  • Positivity

Get rid of the negative relationships that are stunting your growth. Think about how you are learning and growing from others, and understand that relationships have their cycles, and some friends are here for a reason and a season. By determining the quality of your relationships, you can eliminate those that are hurting you or aren’t fuelling your positive mindset. Surround yourself with accepting, fun, interesting people that are willing to go on any adventure with you! 

secret, canoeing

Get intentional with how you are spending your time … schedule it out and be efficient.  It will take some self-discipline, but you will be amazed at how you can find balance in every aspect of your life … surrounding yourself with beautiful people who encourage your growth and your mental, physical, spiritual and emotional health. 

Take time to love yourself, spread the love around, and throw some in your recipes 😉

Peace & Love,

Jill – your veggie villager xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hey guys!

I know it has been a while since I’ve posted … it’s been a busy couple of weeks. I have recently been certified as a personal trainer and been hard at work studying for midterms … and with work and school … a girl needs a night with a good movie, a blanket, friends and some popcorn!

I know everyone has a favourite junk food – whether you are a fan of the salty or the sweet (or both like me)!! But with processed foods, comes added preservatives, sugar, flours and other unhealthy ingredients that instead of satisfying your taste buds, leave you wanting more!

Here are FIVE of my favourite homemade healthy junk food hacks that help me to get through some stressful and busy seasons:

1. Popcorn

  • When going to the movies or watching one at home, nothing pairs better than some popcorn! But what you get at the movies can be less than desired for your body – filled with saturated oils, butter and GMOs – not to mention in HUGE bags that you eat mindlessly.
  • My favourite thing to do is to use our air popper at home! They are pretty cheap – we  pop some organic popcorn kernels, drizzle some melted coconut oil – then go savoury or sweet! Try some nutritional yeast, garlic, pepper and Himalayan sea salt or some cinnamon, cacao and sea salt!

junk food

2. Pasta

  • Pasta has always been a staple in my life – except it used to be Kraft Dinner. Eating half a pot of powdered cheese and white noodles left little nutrients and healthy habits to be desired! My new favourite addiction? Bean and pea noodles!!
  • There are many varieties of noodles made from beans – but these ones are made from peas and kale – YES KALE!! They taste amazing and adding some organic tomato sauce with veggies is the perfect filling dinner! If you are craving some Italian inspired dishes like me- definitely try these noodles!! (You can get them at Healthy Mama!)
  • Also, zoodles are my favourite raw version of pasta, with a quick nut pesto, it makes for the most satisfying and fresh lunch or dinner!

junk food

junk food

3. Hot Chocolate and Lattes

  • Another place I used to be obsessed with: Starbucks. Their hot lattes were so good, yet SO BAD. They are filled with artificial flavours, sugar and milk swimming with hormones and antibiotics that cause inflammation in your body and lead to long-term health issues. I still crave that hot chocolatey drink especially in the morning or before bed!
  • I have started making golden milk a part of my daily routine, the health benefits are ridiculous. There is also an elixir or latte similar to hot chocolate that you can make that is filled with magnesium to put you right to sleep! Take some coconut, hemp, or almond milk, heat in a pan with tablespoon of cacao, dash of cinnamon, a little vanilla, and sweetener of your choice … I use stevia. Sit down with a good book and a homemade muffin and you will be golden ;)!
  • (Golden milk recipe here – I use hemp or coconut milk, the turmeric-pepper paste, cacao, cinnamon and vanilla … adding oil at the end makes it so delicious, Udo’s or coconut are good choices!)

junk food

4. Baked Goods

  • I have always LOVED cookies, but not with the white flour and tons of refined sugar! I have recently been making cookies and muffins with coconut flour, carrots and stevia to reduce the glycemic load, while increasing the nutrients and vitamins. I love sneaking in my veggies while satisfying my sweet tooth.

junk food

5. Bread, Crackers – ALL THINGS COMFORTING CARBS!

  • Nothing like a good sandwich or wrap to keep you going throughout your day. But with bread comes flour, wheat, sugar, and additives that aren’t the greatest to maintaining good healthy and vitality. I love making my own bread – as you can tell from my previous blog posts (also sneaking in some zucchini along the way) and this new recipe I tried out was so rich and satisfying with quinoa and chia seed!
  • I love wrapping up my veggies with Raw Wraps, made from carrots, flax, sundried tomatoes and organic spices. A nutritious sub for a traditional wrap.
  • I love raw crackers filled with good quality fats like seeds and nuts that  I dip into hummus or organic salsa for a quick vegan snack!

junk food

Staying healthy and maintaining good habits just takes a few health swaps to turn your beloved junk food list into energizing fuel! Using whole and raw ingredients may take a little more prep, but can be just as tasty and satisfying!

Let me know how you created your own #junkfoodhacks and comment below or instagram me some of your creations!!

Peace & Love,

Jill – your veggie villager xx

 

 

 

 

 

Hey my healthy villagers!

As I was thinking of my daily routine and some things that I do to enhance my health, I wanted to share with you some simple tips that can help in creating a daily routine that is health focused and mindful.

Remember, our health isn’t just what you put into or on your body, but also what we surround ourselves with, and how that affects our minds and spirits.

I want us to think of our bodies as temples, that we should respect and honour, even when faced with busy schedules, stress and relationship conflicts.

Here are six of the best morning rituals that you can add to your routine for a sound mind, positive and loving spirit, and healthy body so you can feel ALIVE and AT YOUR BEST!

morning

#1 – Three pages before you get up.

Instead of turning your alarm off and checking your phone first thing, have a journal and a pen by your bed. When you wake up, grab your journal and write 3 pages. Anything and everything that’s on your mind or surrender that time for prayer or meditation. You can also write a list of what you are grateful for, your goals for the day, or how you are feeling … unleash your inner creative spirit!

This gives you time to reflect in order to give you a positive and clear mindset for the rest of your day. It also can bring you closer to God within in order to guide you to make better decisions and being more conscious about your actions throughout the day.

#2 – Stretch and meditate.

The best thing you can do for yourself other than exercise in the morning is stretch and take 5-10 minutes just to breathe. Silent your thoughts and focus on a positive affirmation. Breathe in love and peace, and exhale negative or sad thoughts. I also use a massage roller while stretching to help release back and leg pain (#universitystudentbackproblems).

Also try to do an inverted pose for at least 1 min, as this increases your energy, balances your hormones, and sends positive vibes throughout your whole body, allowing you to radiate love onto others throughout the day!

morning morning

#3 – Start your day with lemon water. 

Since I started learning more about health, I was taught that after your body rests for (hopefully) at least 8 hours of sleep, your body is dehydrated and in need of water to replenish your system (coffee would further dehydrate you).

To ease your body out of sleep, you don’t want to throw solids down to your stomach first thing, but rather, make a routine of filling a 1 litre (give or take) mason jar with (preferably) room temperature water and half a lemon.

This reduces inflammation, aids digestion, cleanse your system, protects your immune system and gives you that boost of energy in the morning … it’s even better if you want to workout before breakfast!

Rebounding is also an amazing way to cleanse your lymphatic system and detox your system … it is one of my favourite exercise to do in the morning!

#4 – BE PRESENT with loved ones.

With such busy schedules, our mornings can be prime time to share breakfast and discuss your day ahead with your loved ones – whether that be your parents, your partner or your kids.

Be present and willing to share in prayer, in what lies ahead, and planning time during the weekend to spend together. Our phone messages and emails can wait until we leave for work or school to be addressed.

morning

morning
My children.

#5 – Fuel your body with food that nourishes and meets your cravings.

Again, I will emphasize how important it is to start your day off right – and that begins with breakfast. It is meant to BREAK the FAST – as I usually do intermittent after I stop eating at around 6 pm the day before to allow my system to rest and restore.

To kick start your day, especially if you exercise after some lemon water and a probiotic, you will need to refuel. I suggest a green smoothie, an omelette, or a hearty breakfast cereal filled with seeds and protein like this one – to allow you to be at your best when starting your day.

morning

morning
Lunch sounds good to me.

#6 – Let your day begin and end with a restful sleep. 

Not only is the quantity of sleep important but the  QUALITY is vital to your success! That means no electronics 2 hours before bed (read instead, talk with family, do homework – the blue light from electronics can disrupt our sleeping patterns), try to limit the night snacks and caffeine as we power down, and sleep in a dark space.

Whether you are a night owl or a early riser, listen to what works for you and your creative energy and plan your sleeping schedule accordingly. Check out my article on your sleep chronotype for your best night ever!

Just remember, if you eat beauty, you will RADIATE beauty, and with the right mindset and spirit set early in the morning – NOTHING can stop you!! With adequate and consistent sleeping patterns, our mornings can set us up to reach all our goals and give us a optimistic perspective to each amazing day given to us!

morning
Start your day right and you will surprise yourself with what you can do.

I hope you consider implementing a few of these tips as I know they have made a world of difference in my own health journey!

Peace & Love,

Jill – your veggie villager xx

 

 

Hey villagers,

It’s November, the time of the year when comfort food cravings are strong and immune systems are weak. I have been stocking up on greens and making the majority of my meals with pseudo grains such as wild rice, quinoa and buckwheat to stay healthy and warm.

With the sun setting earlier and the winds growing cooler, my body is going into hibernation mode and is in need of warm and satisfying stews and elixirs.

I’ve also recently been baking and cooking healthy options for my local church at the end of services  and I am loving the response! I am so excited to see the health message spread! My intent is to continue to provide creative recipe ideas for everyone so they can incorporate healthy options into their daily lives in order to feel energized and revitalized.

My mom and I created the best vegetable stew that I would love to share. This hearty vegan stew uses veggie broth, spices and coconut milk to make for rich and creamy comfort food! The recipe was adapted from this blog with my own little variation and creativity.

Be patient with this stew to allow for the flavours to develop … you won’t be disappointed at the outcome.

Wild Rice & Mushroom Stew (Vegan, Paleo, Gluten-free) 

hearty vegan stew, how to make elixir

Ingredients: 

1 cup wild rice
1 large yellow onion, diced
4 celery stalks, diced
1 pound mushrooms, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh or dried oregano
3 tablespoons arrowroot powder
1 cup organic white wine
3-4 bay leaf
4 cups vegetable stock
2 teaspoons minced fresh or dried rosemary
1 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 teaspoons Himalayan sea salt, divided

Instructions: 

Step 1 – Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the wild rice and one teaspoon of salt, and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 40 to 50 minutes, until the rice has burst open and tastes tender. While the rice cooks, prepare the rest of the soup. Drain and set aside.

Step 2 –  Warm a teaspoon of extra-virgin olive oil in a Dutch oven or stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and celery with a half teaspoon of salt, and cook until the onions have softened and turned translucent – 3 to 5 minutes.

Step 3 – Turn the heat down to medium and stir in the mushrooms and another half teaspoon of salt. Cook until the mushrooms have released all their liquid and turned dark golden-brown, 15 to 20 minutes. This is where the soup gets its deep, rich flavour.

Step 4 – Add the garlic and oregano, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Sprinkle the arrowroot powder over the veggies and stir until the vegetables become sticky and there is no more visibly dry powder.

Step 5 – Increase the heat again to medium-high and pour in the wine. Stir and scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Continue simmering until the wine has reduced by about half and the liquid has thickened a bit.

Step 6 – Add the bay leaves and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes to meld the flavors.

Step 7 – Add the rosemary, milk, and cooked wild rice. Simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the soup has thickened to your liking. Stir in the cider vinegar. Taste and add more salt or vinegar to taste. (We added some fresh sage at the end then took out after 5 minutes – so many layers of flavour!!)

Leftovers will keep refrigerated for up to a week.

Another one of my favourite things to drink in the morning to stay warm and healthy is my Chocolaty Coffee Elixir! It tastes like coffee, using Dandy Blend, which is made from the dandelion and chicory root. It also has a hot chocolately feeling with Cacao Powder.

What is an elixir you ask?

Elixirs are a warm or cold drink, that is filled with superfoods and have healing properties. They are a healthier version of a latte, and can be filling and oh so satisfying!

I hope you enjoy this elixir mix as much as I do! Reishi is also great to relieve stress and balance hormones and can be purchased here.

Chocolaty (Faux)Coffee Elixir (Vegan, Paleo, Gluten-free)  

Ingredients: 

1 teaspoon Dandy Blend or more depending on your preference

1/2 teaspoon Cacao Powder

1 packet of Four Sigmatic elixir powder (my fav is reishi!)

Pinch of cinnamon

1 teaspoon organic cold-pressed extra-virgin coconut oil (or MCT oil!)

1 teaspoon maple syrup or your choice of sweetener (I like stevia chocolate drops!)

1 cup almond or coconut milk

Instructions: 

Step 1: Mix all ingredients onto stovetop and heat but do not bring to a boil.

Step 2: Remove from heat when steaming and put into a blender to make frothy and creamy. Enjoy!

Stay warm this upcoming November with love-infused foods that nourish every cell of your body and keep your immune system and belly happy!

how to make elixir
Enjoy your elixirs with some (healthy) dessert.

Peace & Love,

Jill – your veggie villager xx

Hey villagers!

I love this time of year, the crisp fall breezes, warm satisfying elixirs, apple picking and of course, root veggie goodness! I’m so thankful for the new opportunities that come with changing of the seasons. I love spending time with my family, my (awesome) animals, and my community through cooking, laughing and sharing life together!

I have had the week off to refresh, relax and get back to experimenting in the kitchen. I usually make my sweet potato or cauliflower mash, but this time I added pumpkin to my sweet potato mash and it made for delicious mashed potatoes!

Here is a basic mashed potato recipe with a fun fall twist of pumpkin! I love to steam sweet potatoes, to keep the nutrients alive and for easier digestion. This recipe is quick and easy and super satisfying … like the real deal minus the butter and milk. Enjoy!

Sweet Potato & Pumpkin Mash Recipe (Vegan, gluten-free, Paleo)

Ingredients: 

1/2 cup of cooked pumpkin puree (probably could use fresh!)

1/2 – 1 cup of canned full-fat coconut milk

3 sweet potatoes

Pinch of salt

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/8 tsp vanilla

Instructions:

Step 1 – Cut your potatoes into wedges and place in a steamer pot. Let them steam until pretty soft and a fork can easily go through the wedges. If not soft enough, the mash will be a little chunky.

Step 2 – Put the soft sweet potatoes into food processor. Add the rest of your ingredients except coconut milk.

Step 3 – Allow to blend, adding coconut milk slowly until you reach a smooth consistency. Feel free to add more spice or try different milk alternatives, although, I find that the coconut milk makes it extra rich and creamy.

Step 4 – Top with cinnamon and enjoy!! So good with fresh salad and some quinoa to make a buddha bowl!

mashed potatoes

Feel free to let me know how your potatoes turn out and what you added to make them extra delish! You could also go the savoury route and use garlic, and vegan margarine or ghee. Enjoy your homemade mash! Also try this mash with some delicious bread to continue the carb fest!!

Peace & Love,

Jill – your (fall-loving) veggie villager xx

Hi villagers!

Today I wanted to touch on the topic of how I have grown to understand how to connect my mind, body and soul.

It all started with my diet.

I went from having my go-to foods being Peanut M&Ms, Arizona green tea, and Kraft Dinner to having a balanced lifestyle filled with superfood smoothies, fresh salads and fruits and veggie stir fries.

This shift first came with my mind – I was not aware of how my food choices were affecting me. I would get spells of depression, feel lethargic, have frequent headaches and stomachaches, and have heavy PMS symptoms.

The processed foods that I would munch on were filled with additives and artificial colours that I couldn’t pronounce, and my body couldn’t comprehend. I realized that when I started eating whole foods I could start listening to my body – as I stopped sending it mixed messages. I experienced mental clarity, energy, and found my passion to cook and learn more about the health world.

meditation meditation

Of course with putting CLEAN and GOOD FUEL into my body comes with an abundant amount of energy – so naturally you want to exercise! It kills me to see people who don’t make a connection between what they put into their mouths and exercise. People will work out for hours to compensate for the huge unhealthy meal they had the night before – this is NOT how it works.

Exercise is NOT compensation but a way to further boost your health – both through your body’s abilities and your mind – sending good vibes to those around you and yourself as you improve your own body image and gain more respect for what your body can DO and not what it LOOKS like.

And exercise can also clear your mind, no matter what vehicle you use – yoga, rebounding, running or boxing. Exercise might even be your moving meditation. I’ve just recently started a {seated} meditation practice through different breathing exercises, clearing the mind of thoughts, and simply setting intentions for my day. I breathe in what I need that day like patience, and breathe out what I feel I can give to the world like a peaceful soul. I was inspired by the book The Power of Now by Eckart Tolle, which gave me a better understanding of our cluttered minds and how to live in an enlightened state of being.

So, here’s how to clear your MIND and BODY (we will get to the soul):

  1. Eliminate processed foods. 

Anything that has ingredients that you can’t pronounce will confuse you and your body. These include modified ingredients, colours, and added oils that have been processed and genetically modified. The biggest culprit of confusion is SUGAR in MANY different hidden forms.

meditation
It doesn’t mean healthy has to taste bad.

2. Eliminate medications.

I’m talking the Advil, Motrin, anything antibiotics prescribed by a doctor – start going to the FARMACY not the pharmacy – as your first line of defence for your minor health issues. You will start to see your issues disappear with the help from your NEW doctor – Mother Nature.

3. Eliminate mental barriers. 

Fill your house with WHOLE foods – and don’t be scared to try something new. It will be the best thing you will do for your health as you finally feel ALIVE and live a healthy LIFESTYLE. Mindfulness is a PRACTICE, and a PROCESS, so be kind to yourself. And remember, you will never need to go on a diet again when you are plant-based and intentional about what you are feeding your body.

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3. Eliminate excuses.

Use your resources around you like local health food stores and grocery stores for healthy options and cookbooks to get you started. Food can be simple, fun and delicious! Your tastebuds will change and you will crave healthy foods, because you are what you crave! These are signals tell your body that you need these nutrients, so always LISTEN, even when you need a dose of chocolate (you could be lacking magnesium!). Be connected and rooted in your body.

4. Eliminate shoes. 

This one might be weird but I’ve recently came to love wearing no shoes and grounding myself everyday. Get some sun, walk barefoot outside and use the Earth’s energy to feed your soul, clearing your mind of distractions and barriers. It is the MOST beneficial when getting off a plane and helps to prevent jet lag.

meditation

Anndddd Here’s how to FEED your SOUL: 

  1. Take time to reflect.

    Buy a pretty journal and start writing – Even writing for five minutes everyday things like what you are grateful for, new business ideas, the starting of a poem or song – whatever lets your creativity OUT and positive energy IN.

meditation

  1. Take time to meditate. 

    Even just focusing on your breathing for 5 minutes a day, or being fully present when driving (meditation to reduce stress of the person who just cut you off…) or biking is the first step in the right direction. There are different meditation techniques and many proper meditation techniques, however, focusing on your breath can quiet the mind and bring you into the present. (Check out Joy on Demand for more easy and effective meditation practices!). Also, check out my latest post on how to meditate as a Christian!

meditation

  1. Take time to talk. 

    Be FULLY present and set up time to sit with friends and listen and love on them. Talking can release your frustrations from the day and give you an enlightened soul spent with loved ones.

  2. Take time to think of others. 

    Volunteer somewhere you feel strongly about, or give away your possessions – don’t connect your soul with material possessions. You are not defined by the size of your house or your stuffed closet. GENEROSITY feeds the soul.

  3. Take time to sleep. 

    You can be FULLY present with a good nights sleep. Shawn Stevenson is an expert on all things sleep – have your magnesium before bed, turn off your technology, read and interact with family – its about the QUALITY of sleep not the QUANTITY.

I really hope these mind, body and soul tips can give you a sense of how to provide healing love to yourself. Please leave comments or questions about your own health journey and I will be happy to answer from my experience and knowledge.

mediatation

Go from relying on medication, bagged foods and frozen dinners to finding true peace with your body, your mind and your soul through meditation, exercise and whole foods – a holistic LIFESTYLE that embodies your true essence!

Peace & Love,

Jill – your veggie villager xx

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