Some fun & some yums.

Hey Friends,

It's Macro Monday today - but instead of a post, here are a few photos from the past week - my brother & his lovely lady were visiting, so we had some great outdoors time, and some yummy eats <3

Steel cut oats cooked with apples &amp; cranberries, topped with roasted almonds, cinnamon &amp; steamed almond milk. Definitely a dainty pig approved cafe :)

Steel cut oats cooked with apples & cranberries, topped with roasted almonds, cinnamon & steamed almond milk. Definitely a dainty pig approved cafe :)

Mexican tofu scramble served with a wonderful salad and toast &lt;3

Mexican tofu scramble served with a wonderful salad and toast <3

And I'll leave you with one of the best things I've seen lately...

The fattest, cutest rabbit... named Roger...spotted at the farmer's market. It was way bigger than the little girl holding it :)

Have a great week friends, and see you back here on Friday for Macro Treat Friday <3


Macro Monday: yoga off the mat

Hi Friends,

There has been a lot of outside time this past month :)
I have had the fortune of having many many visitors, and lots of beautiful days. While this has changed my usual routine of early mornings and early nights (lots of free time in the day, and later nights working or visiting), I have been going with the flow and allowing things to just be, and enjoying what is. I've been focusing on taking in the experience - the friends & family & the beauty of my surroundings - fully. Yoga off the mat, and lots of it. Breathing in each place and holding it in my heart <3

Here are a few snippets of my days - places & eats I've been savoring and experiencing.

This is all good WORK for me to be doing. Going with the flow, and not forcing my schedule. For some people, schedule free lives feel more normal & natural. Not so for me - I have always had lots of scheduled time, and usually thrive off of routine. Now I get to play with shifting, adapting, free moving time - working it so I get what needs to be done, done, at all different times of the day. Bedtime at midnight? Sure. Practice at home at 11am or 3pm? Yep. Working in the evening / visiting in the evening and playing outside during the day? Okay! I have been able to adapt to different hours for the time being, and relax into a new rhythm of... no rhythm. Haha :) It's challenging me in many ways. Good growth in new ways. And of course, I'll soon be able to get back to my earlier bedtimes & regular schedule, and enjoy what I know that has to offer ;)

Flexibility, ease & adaptability - it's all part of living a BIG LIFE - the heart & soul of macrobiotics.

Now - I'm off to play in the forest & ocean - my brother & his lovely lady are here visiting, and I couldn't be happier! :)

Macro Monday: Colour Therapy

Hi Friends,

Lately my life has been filled to the brim with COLOUR. All colours, all intensities, everywhere I look i'm seeing colours.

The more colours I see when I'm out for a walk, the more energized I feel.
The more colours in I include in my meals, the better I feel.
The more colours I wear, surround myself in & place around me, the more balanced my days are.

Have you ever noticed that at different times in your life you are drawn to certain colours? I sure have - I definitely go through colour phases.

So, this got me thinking about all the different articles, books & charts I've read about the healing effects of each colour. I find it super interesting :)

MM: Colour Therapy

Please find below some point form information about some of the mental & emotional states & feelings the colours are associated with, along some of the things that things each colour is thought to be healing for. This is all coming from things I've heard along the way, as well as from the lovely and wonderful charts I've included below [of course, there are many more colours out there, all with different meanings - these are just some of the common ones]. Also, along with most of the colours, I've included some of my daily inspiration for soaking in each colour - through food, and through seeing.

Also, you can easily not have enough, or be getting too much of each colour - meaning simply that you can become imbalanced if you focus all the time, let's say, on the colour red - but you can also be lacking in the qualities that the colour red can bring to your life, if you avoid red all together.  Balance & moderation, as per usual, are key :)

*Please note: The chakras are very much associated with colours, but I wanted to keep this post not too terribly long. Perhaps in the future i'll talk about colour and the chakra system in our bodies (our energetic centres).


  • Harmony & Balance in all ways
  • Associated with wealth / affluence
  • Non-attachment
  • Beneficial for: the heart & lungs, also kidney problems


  • Energizing
  • Uplifting
  • Joy
  • Light-hearted
  • Beneficial for: intestinal & digestive system, the nervous system


  • Peaceful
  • Trustworthy & responsible
  • Inner peace and serenity.
  • Beneficial for: throat conditions, migraines, soothes the mind

Magenta / Pink

  • Uplifts the spirit
  • Beneficial for: nausea, vomiting, depression


  • Communication & truth
  • Invigorating yet calming
  • General healing
  • Beneficial for: fatigue, acne


  • Strengthening & Stimulating
  • Power
  • Love
  • Beneficial for: reproductive organs, also in can raise blood pressure


  • Happiness
  • Enthusiasm
  • Promotes confidence
  • Social interaction
  • Beneficial for: indigestion, joint pain, and for increasing immunity

Violet or Purple

  • Purification & wellness
  • Intuition & Spirituality
  • Nobility & luxury
  • Wisdom
  • Beneficial for: Very calming - good for mental & nerve imbalances, helping promote healthy sleeping patterns


  • Wisdom
  • Truth
  • Self-mastery
  • Beneficial for: hearing, sight & nerves.


  • Purity, purification
  • Innocence
  • Beneficial for: purifying the mind

Some colourful meals:

Enjoy these colour charts below <3

What colours have you been craving in your life?

Have the best week friends - full of colour & life!

xo Jess

Macro Monday: Simple Living

MM: Simplicity

Image from:

Image from:

More and more I come to the understanding that less is more, in every sense. The less you want, the less you have, the less you do, the less you desire, the less you need...the simpler and more peaceful your life will be. "Life is simple when you live simply."

Part of living a big life is most definitely engaging with simplicity. To achieve the things you want to in life, you need to focus your time and effort on them. Anything that adds to the number of things you "need" to do, will take away from time you could be working on what is near and dear to you. Everyone has the same amount of time in a day. You can either devote your time to 100 different things, or to 10. Be careful of spreading yourself too thin.

I think that the reason routine often leads to increased productivity, is that it minimizes required decision making. The more decisions you need to make, the more "stuff" you are bringing into your mind, and the less time you have to focus on what is truly important. I think I really liked living in Japan, because it seemed like everything there had a system. There was a certain way of doing EVERY thing...and while I could see how some people might find this overbearing, I found it to be ultimately simple. On this day you do this. If you have this, you clean it at this time of year. This food is made like this. You eat this with that, and nothing else. Rules, and routines - yes. So many decisions that you need to make yourself, each day? No. Simple? yes.

Finding a few great outfits that you wear over and over, a few good meals that you cook often, and a few restaurants that work for you when you need some good food quickly, will reduce the time you waste when deciding. In fact, I have been on the quest to decide which things I like the best in every category, and to then just continue on getting those things. I've tried enough different variations of most essential ingredients to know which companies or versions I think are best. It's not worth my time to try new variations that come out. Stick with what you know, and you'll find you have more and more pockets of time appearing.

What all this means for me, lately, is that anytime something comes my way, I find my mind jumping to: "okay, that's lovely... but slow down...will this require anything more of me, on a regular basis, or in the future?". If the answer is indeed yes, that it will require more of my time, it becomes a more serious decision. Even if it is something lovely and wonderful, pay attention to what it will require of you in the future.

For example: having pets and/or a large garden - both lovely and awesome. But both require a large amount of time commitment. And if you want to go away, or leave town - more time is required for finding someone to look after your pet or plants. Worth it? Often, yes. But not without thinking about it a little more than usual.

And how about objects, things, & products that you invite into your home. Pay attention. Ask yourself if this will create a more simple existence, or if it requires something of you. More objects often make it harder to clean. They definitely make it harder to move. Especially if they take a long time to put together or take apart. And especially if they are large and/or heavy. You also need to find / create / make space for them. If your space is way too overcrowded, it will rob you of future time, because it will take longer to find or do most things. Another example: buying more clothes - this comes with the more laundry time commitment. Seriously, you'd be surprised with the time commitment that comes along with simple items you bring into your house.

So... do less, choose less, buy less, agree to less.

The more streamlined you can make your day-to-day life, the more LIFE you'll feel like you have. Set up some guidelines for what works for you and what doesn't. Try to stick to them whenever possible, and save yourself the time you'll use on decision making.

In fact, really just think about what it is that is worth your time. And remember this before you commit to / agree to / or decide to do or buy anything. Ask: does it really support me - is it worth my time?

And I challenge you to notice what SIMPLE things bring you happiness and joy.

The things that support me are at their deepest essence, purely simple. A perfect day for me includes some form of movement, simple healthy meals (nothing too crazy or complicated here, I'm talking oatmeal), regular work hours, time outside, regular unwinding hours (including spending time with my guy and friends or family), and good quality sleep. All of these are simple. I don't need them to be fancy or crazy or wildly spontaneous. Just gentle, easy, moments.

All my best to you friends.
I hope you have a SIMPLY joyful week.
xoxo jess

Macro Monday: Chewing recap

Hey guys,

Just thought I'd to a quick recap of how my week of chewing better went!

Chew-a-thon Recap:

  • It's definitely obvious, but because I slowed down to chew more, I enjoyed my meals even more than I usually do :)
  • I definitely noticed that good food still tastes good the more you chew it...and food that is more of the treaty variety, does not.
  • And of course, my belly felt much happier as it always does if I chew better. Lots of people find smoothies easy to digest, and really it's just because the blender pre-chews it all for you :)
  • 50 chews per bite felt pretty much impossible, but I did increase the number of chews by a good amount. Also, a few times I had some fruit, and found it extra hard to chew a lot...ick, chewing on grape skins is not so fun! haha.
  • It began to feel a bit more natural by the end of the week, to chew more than I had been, without always thinking about it
  • I tried to remember to "chew" my liquids too - also important - just swish it around a bit :)

Overall, it was a great reminder that especially if life is busy, chewing and slowing down to eat is often one of the first things to go. I encourage you to bring back in the slow meals, full of wonderful company, delicious food, & of lots of chewing.

Did you try chewing more this past week? What was your experience like?

Macro Monday: Chewing

Chewing your food, and I mean REALLY chewing your food, is a cornerstone of good health.
In fact, Walt Whitman once advised, "Drink your solids and chew your liquids."

And let's face it, he was a smart, smart man.

MM: All About Chewing

Benefits of Chewing

According to Dr. Mercola, there are many amazing benefits of chewing, including:

  • Better nutrient absorption, food particles are easier digested and the nutrients can be absorbed better in the intestines
  • Can help you slow down your meals, and avoid bypassing the full signal
  • Enables better pre-digestion via saliva in your mouth (chewing well increases saliva, which contains digestive enzymes).
  • Creates overall easier digestion: chewing well helps to break down and partially liquify food, making the whole process of digestion a much less demanding task.
  • Great for your teeth: saliva produced by chewing well, helps clean your teeth
  • Helps reduce indigestion, which is often caused by large food particles than cannot be processed, which then sit in your intestines and cause problems.
  • Adds enjoyment - slowing down allows for more time to savor your meal.

There is a lot of information about chewing out there, and here are a few more awesome points.

  • The mechanical process of digestion begins with chewing
  • AND, the chemical process of digestion begins with chewing (saliva contains necessary enzymes).
  • Chewing relaxes the lower stomach muscle, creating an easier digestive process
  • Chewing triggers the rest of the digestive process (in fact, chewing sends signals to the entire gastrointestinal system).

Chewing Challenge

How many times do you chew per mouthful?  I bet on average, most people don't chew more than 10 times per bite of food.

Are you up for a challenge?

Jessica Porter, one of my favourite authors, is hosting the 2014 CHEW-A-THON, beginning today, and lasting for 7 days! The goal is to chew every bite 50x for 7 days.

50 x per mouthful. 7 days.

If this seems pretty dang crazy, and you don't have the jaw muscles, or the time, try simply increasing your chewing a bit.

Take a few days and notice how many times your chew per mouthful. If you chew 10x, try for at least 15x per mouthful. Most Macrobiotic books recommend working up to at least 30 x per mouthful.

The second article above, mentions chewing until the food you are eating is no longer obviously identifiable via texture before you swallow...they give the example of chewing broccoli until you can no longer feel stems. This seems like it should be obvious. But I guess it isn't.

I was not born with the innate understanding of how important chewing is, unlike my guy T, so it is something I have to think about. If I don't think about it, I don't do it well enough. I have to pay attention to not eat too quickly. And if I'm distracted, and wolf my food down, I get a sad belly.

So, I'm going pay a bit more attention this week and we'll see what happens!
Let me know if you try too <3

And besides, if chewing gum can help warm up your brain and increase test scores, certainly chewing wholesome food can't hurt. :)

Have a great week friends.
xoxo Jess

Macro Monday: Grain Coffee

Hey Friends,

Today's post is short and simple, and all about grain coffee. Grain Coffee, also called coffee substitute, is made from roasted and ground grains/nuts/fruits instead of from coffee beans.
I've tried quite a few, and while none of them taste like real coffee, they can be quite enjoyable as a thing in and of themselves.

MM: Grain Coffee

Grain coffee is often used as a coffee substitute - it can be a way to help ease off of coffee, if you are trying to give it up. I do enjoy a bit of real coffee of course, but especially in the evenings if I'd like something warm and cozy, sans caffeine, I often make tea, or a delicious hot grain coffee drink.

The grain coffees all vary widely in taste. Some are made with roasted acorns, figs & other nuts. Most have barley and chicory in there too. And often they include dandelion root. I have included a bunch of information and links below to my top 4 favourite grain coffees.

[Please note: the following links use my iherb discount code, which will give you $10 off your first order, and some points for me - use it if you like, or not :) thanks friends].

#1 Favourite Grain Coffee - Dandy Blend

I really enjoy Dandy Blend! I buy mine online, because it is much cheaper than I've seen it in stores...hopefully one day prices will drop in store.

I like Dandy Blend because it is gluten free, and has a very nice taste - it blends really easily. The ingredients are: extracts of roasted barley, rye, chicory root, dandelion root and sugar beet. It is not sweet, despite the inclusion of sugar beet - all the sweetness disappears during roasting. 

I usually just add some boiling water to mine, and sometimes I put in some almond milk and cinnamon, or even a touch of rice syrup or maple syrup, if you want something a little sweet.

#2 - Dandy Joe

I wrote about these guys awhile ago here. This Dandelion coffee I purchased in Edmonton. It is produced locally, in Alberta. I bought it at Wild Earth grocery on 99th street, but later on saw that they had a stall at the Farmer's market in Old Strathcona.

For this kind of Dandelion Coffee, I'd recommend following their advice, and brewing it in a coffee maker of choice. It comes out fairly clear (compared to the Dandy Blend), and pretty strong, as you brew it and don't simply stir it in. I still have some left (yay!) and when I do use it, I often make it into a Dandelion Latte. They also make some other versions that include medicinal herbs etc. For all my non-Edmonton based readers, I'm not so certain if they will ship or not, but here is a link to their Market Stall profile, with an email address below. I bet if you smile pretty they'll sent you some :)

#3 Organic Caf-Lib

This is a new to me product that I recently picked up at the store because I was out of Dandy Blend ;) It is a straight up grain beverage made with chicory, barley & malted barley.

I'm really happy with it so far. I especially like that it is instant like Dandy Blend and does not require brewing. This makes it a great quick option. You simply add either hot water, or hot milk of choice, stir, and you're ready to go.

I especially like it because it's fairly common to find, even at regular grocery stores in my area, and is under $10. <3

#4 Teeccino

This is probably the most popular grain/nut/fruit coffee substitute out there. I bet it's because of all the delicious flavours they have.

Most of these guys' blends have carob, dates & figs in there, which provide a really decadent and nice sweet flavour. Again, just like Dandy Joe, this is a grain coffee that needs to be brewed in a coffee machine of your choice.

There are tons of flavours to choose from such as: mochavanilla nut, and regular old french roast. My favourite (please note that I've only tried a few so far), is hazelnut. They seem to be continually coming out with new flavour and products :)

Now I think it's time to make a grain-coffee latte :)

Dandelion Latte made with Dandy Joe, Almond Milk, cinnamon and a drizzle of brown rice syrup &lt;3

Dandelion Latte made with Dandy Joe, Almond Milk, cinnamon and a drizzle of brown rice syrup <3

Have a happy fun-drink kinda week <3
See you on Friday for MacroTreat Friday!
xoxo Jess


Macro Monday: Macrobiotics vs. Veganism

Most people understand what the word vegan means. Less people have heard of Macrobiotics. I get asked about it a lot. Often if I'm eating out with other people, I'll say I'm vegan + occasional fish for simplicity's sake. But then I usually get asked why I eat fish, etc., and the topic of being vegan versus eating Macrobiotically comes up. In fact, it comes up enough that it's about time I wrote about the differences. Macrobiotics itself is founded on entirely different principles than veganism.

MM: Macrobiotics // Veganism

Vegan = Healthy, Right?

I have spent a lot of times in and working at health food stores. Let me tell you what the number one best sellers are: all natural pop & all natural chips. Close behind them are all the natural candies, chocolates, ice cream alternatives etc. These can be or are all vegan! And vegan means healthy, right?

Well...nope. Haha. Sure some chips once in a while, and a pop here or there, is not going to be a problem. But that doesn't mean they're healthy. They're still a treat, or an indulgence - with or without the vegan label.

I once overheard a lady in the pop/chip aisle at the health foods store I was working at, giving advice to her friend about how she could get her kids to eat better. She said "it's really easy, just give them this pop instead, and they'll drink it down like crazy, they won't even know they're drinking something much healthier. You see, it's vegan and has evaporated cane juice in sugar!"

No judgements from my end, truly, only a giant sincere simple wish for more real food educating and more honest information out there, so that people can really understand what is actually in the food and drinks they are consuming.

In regards to the lady I mentioned above, she probably read somewhere that organic is healthy, vegan is healthy, and to look out for white sugar. So she really felt she was making a healthy choice. And sure, an organic cane-juice sweetened pop is fine for a treat once in awhile - life is too short to be too crazy restrictive. Sometimes a little sweetness is a good thing. But there will likely be health consequences down the road if you're guzzling down organic pops on a daily basis because you are under the impression that they are healthy.

Another thing I hear often: "didn't you know, Oreo's are vegan!?" These guys aren't organic, and have regular ol' sugar in them. But they are vegan, so they must be healthy too, right? Hey, I'm all for a bit of Oreo lovin' every once in awhile. And if you are vegan for ethical reasons alone - then it is great to know that certain products are vegan, and this will allow you to purchase things with more ease. BUT, this by no means that because a product is vegan, it is healthy. To get a label saying "vegan" slapped on a product, only means that it does not contain any animal products. It does not guarantee that it is made with high quality ingredients, or that it is good for you.

I'm simply trying to illustrate the misconception I keep seeing, that simply because something is vegan, it is healthy. This is not necessarily true.

Healthy Vegan Food

Now let's chat about the flipside: super duper healthy food that IS vegan. Apples, bananas, rice, quinoa, flax, chia, almonds, kale salad, guacamole...all these are healthy real food choices. And vegan. Much different than vegan treat foods.

So where does Macrobiotics come in?

It's pretty unlikely that you will see as many things labelled Macrobiotic as you will things labelled vegan.

Macrobiotic foods (true macrobiotic foods) will be egg, dairy, & meat free (often fish free too). That sounds kind of like most vegan foods! But Macrobiotics isn't as simple as the whole "no animal products" thing. Macrobiotics means big life, and this means choosing foods that will support you (in your given environment, life situation, age etc.) - giving you consistent stable energy, so you can be be there fully for whatever it is that you are here to do.

Where Macrobiotics & veganism differ is this: true macrobiotic food will be less processed, and will contain ingredients in their whole form as much as possible, emphasizing the nutrients found in natural foods in their natural state. These principles are fundamental to Macrobiotics. Think whole grains, seeds, veggies, healthy unprocessed oils, fruits, & nuts. Minimal natural sweeteners & natural seasonings.

So an Oreo, while being vegan, would not be considered Macrobiotic. But, an organic bean & quinoa salad, tossed in olive oil and lemon juice - that can be considered both vegan & macrobiotic. And an organic cookie made using minimal wholefood ingredients - that could count as both Macrobiotic and vegan too.

Another thing that Macrobiotics takes into consideration is using as many locally grown ingredients as possible, rather than foods grown in foreign climates. Also the nightshade veggies play a minimal role.

Now, to be fair, you can technically also subsist off of Macrobiotic granola bars, rice cakes, peanut butter, and apples...and that wouldn't leave you feeling so balanced either. Just as there is a way to make vegan unhealthy, there are also foods that could be classified as Macrobiotic, that wouldn't be the best to base your diet off of entirely. The difference, I think, is that in principle, being vegan is about abstaining from animal products, whereas Macrobiotics is about finding the big balance in your life through balanced eating. There are many ways to make vegan food healthy, but the definition of the word "vegan"  alone does not necessarily guide you towards the goal of a healthy lifestyle, whereas the meaning of the word "macrobiotic" does (at least more so, in my opinion).

Both paths, vegan & Macrobiotic, can ultimately take you towards the same healthy meal and life, but I'd caution you to read the road signs carefully if you're on the vegan highway, as there are many big companies using clever labeling that are out there doing their best to guide you away from simple clean foods, and towards their packaged products.

Any thoughts?

xoxo Jess

Macro Monday: Macrobiotics & The Nightshade Vegetables

Hi Friends!

It's Macro Monday again, and this week let's chat about nightshade vegetables, and why they aren't included regularly in the Macrobiotic diet.

Say what?

MM: Nightshade Vegetables

What are nightshades?

The nightshades are a diverse family of flowering plants (scientific family: solanaceae). It is a really interesting group of plants, including many that are known to be very poisonous such as the belladonna. (see here).

Some well know pharmaceutical nightshades are: tobacco, morphine, & novocain.

Some of the nightshade vegetables/spices/fruits include: potatoes (sweet potatoes are different), tomatoes, eggplant, spicy peppers, paprika, sweet peppers and anything in the well known genus capsicum.

As you can see, these are some of the most popular and most common vegetables found in cooking all around the world.

These vegetables each contain valuable nutrients and healthful properties, but they also contain contain a group of substances called alkaloids, which can be the source of potential health problems for some individuals.

What are alkaloids?

Plants naturally produce alkaloids as a kind of built in insect repellent, and night shade vegetables have four different kinds of alkaloids. Some of these kinds of alkaloids have been heavily researched because they have strong drug like properties - and are known for their use in both pharmaceutical and recreational drugs. Steroid Alkaloids are the kind in most common nightshade foods.

Alkaloids & our joints & nervous system.

The potential effects of alkaloids on the nervous system and our joints have been pretty extensively studied, and therefore alkaloids can be a risk for certain individuals that are highly sensitive to them, or that have specific conditions.

I am definitely not a scientist, but from what I can gather, alkaloids can affect the nervous system by influencing an important enzyme in our nerve cells, which can ultimately impact our muscle movement - potentially resulting in twitches, trembling, etc.

What I am more familiar with, and have heard more often, is about the negative impact of alkaloids on our joint health. They are thought to affect the joints through causing inflammation and altering our mineral balance in our bones - specifically lowering our ability to absorb calcium. Nightshades draw in vital minerals - meaning they pull them away from other vegetables in the garden, and when ingested, from our bones in our body. Again, I don't know the science here, but I can tell you that foods that deplete minerals are usually avoided in the Macrobiotic diet.

[also, spinach and chard are often lumped in with nightshades, even though they technically aren't a nightshade, because the oxalic acid in them creates a similar situation as the alkaloids, in which calcium absorption is interfered with]

On a personal level, I can feel the effects on my joints after eating certain nightshades - but not others. If you have joint problems such as arthritis, it may be well worth your time to experiment removing nightshades from your diet for at least 2 weeks, and noticing if you feel any difference in your joints.

What to do!?

Cooking nightshades can reduce their alkaloid content by up to 50%, and this may be perfect for people who aren't so sensitive to their effects. Other individuals may find that they still have problems, and therefore should think about limiting the use of nightshades in their diet. Perhaps including these foods occasionally, or at least less often than usual.

Some fresh tomato on a salad in the summer, a baked potato here and there, or some sauteed eggplant every once in awhile definitely won't impact you like crazy. But if you consume these foods in large quantities on a daily basis and are having joint pain, it may be worth a second look.

So...if you're curious, then experiment going without for a few days or weeks. If you have serious joint issues, then I highly encourage you to try giving them up for awhile.

Have you heard about nightshades before?

Do you experience any joint issues when you eat them?

Have a great week friends!

xo jess