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No. 135 MARCH/APRIL 2021

The Women’s Health Issue

Your Guide to Healthy, Organic Living

Kat Krivanek with the Featured Ambassador Recipe: Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup


Positive Affirmations Done Right 9

6 Foods for a Healthier Menopause 10

All About Wakame 16

Women & High Functioning Anxiety 22

WELLNESS FOR HER Women's Health & Holistic Nutrition with Iva Pravda


Duckish's Carolyn & Josh Crew 24


C A N N A . M E D. E D




Women's Sexual Lupus Warrior Health & Cannabis Kimberley Esguerra Topa


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Are Your Iron Levels Low? If you are a woman who tends to get heavy periods, you are more than likely lower in iron than others. Most of us won`t even notice that we are deficient in iron until we go through the lack of energy or strength, getting very dizzy, and need to go and see a physician who can figure out what is wrong with us. Sadly, iron deficiency anemia can be tricky to recognize unless we have gotten a serum ferritin blood test. The range is between 5 - 270, and if we are too close to either end, we will need to discuss it with our health care provider. Iron is a powerful nutrient for the body. Iron is essential to the formation of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a crucial component to keeping oxygen in our bodies because it increases the blood’s ability to carry oxygen to all of our cells, ensuring their best health. Iron also contributes to our energy production, so we are tired if our iron levels are low. We can get iron from many sources, but I prefer animal-sourced iron such as egg yolks, red meats, and liver. I do understand that these sources are not for everyone. Luckily, there are many plant-based sources of iron for people following vegan or vegetarian diets. Some of my favourite plant sources are moringa, chlorella, lentils, beets, chia, dried curry leaves, and thyme. The absorption of iron is a bit fussy as it can be affected by gluten, dairy, and overall intestinal health. If this is the case, supplementation is a great addition to help you increase your iron levels. There are many forms of iron on the market. My least favourite irons on the market are ferrous fumarate and gluconate. These two types offer higher amounts of iron on the label, but they have minimum absorption, which often causes cramping and constipation. If it’s causing constipation and blackening of our stool, can we be sure that we are absorbing it? I like to recommend heme iron (from animal sources) because it has

the highest absorption and is utilized efficiently by the body while not causing constipation. Taking a supplement with a lower number on the label but higher absorption can lessen stress on the body. To get the most out of your iron supplements, avoid taking them simultaneously with calcium and zinc. Iron also needs co-factors (other helpful nutrients) that aid our bodies in using it. That is why we need to make sure we are taking these nutrients alongside our iron supplements. These helpful co-factors are vitamin C, B12, and folate — if you have been taking iron and not feeling any different, check to see if your supplement contains these little helpers. Before you start taking any iron supplement, check with your health care provider first!

IVA PRAVDA is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist based in Kitchener, Ontario. She specializes in personalized online nutritional analysis to address various health conditions, helping individuals make small, realistic alterations to their daily routines through supplements, spices, mushrooms, essential oils and homeopathy.  NUTRITIONWITHIVA



Supports improved insulin signaling while promoting healthy glucose metabolism.

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Harley Godfrey SALES TEAM

Stephenie Farrell Katherine Krivanek Nancy Tran Michelle Vysohlid DIGITAL MARKETING MANAGER

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DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and advertisers and do not necessarily reflect those of the Vista Magazine publisher, editors, or staff. Readers are encouraged to consult with their health professional before embarking upon any exercise, medical or nutritional changes. Contents of Vista Magazine are copyright © 2021, all rights reserved. Vista Magazine may not be reproduced in whole or in part by any means without written permission of the Founder & Publisher. Canada Publication Mail Sales Product Agreement # 42898014 A SS OCI ATI ON S


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6 Foods for a Healthier Menopause 11 (STATS)

The Biggest Health Differences Between Men & Women 16 FUNCTIONAL FOODS

The "Blue Zone" Benefits of Wakame

THIS PAGE Photo by Kirsten Buck


Women's Health & Self-Awareness 22

Over-Achievement & Anxiety


Detoxification Done Naturally



Wellness by Her, for Her: Insights from Nutritionist Iva Pravda




with Lupus Warrior Kimberley Esguerra Topa


Gut Health & Women's Depression

The Women’s Health Issue

No. 135 MARCH/APRIL 2021


Essential Oils and Kids… A Great Pair. Essential oils are great for everyone in the family, and kids are no exception. For young children, the use of a NOW® Solutions ultrasonic, cool mist diffuser provides a fun, convenient and safe means to disperse your favourite scents while the soothing coloured lights can make sleep-time easier. From kindergarten to college, essential oils are great to wake up with, as a study partner, to soothe during sickness, or for winding down from a busy day. Also, kids can come with their own ”smells”, so the use of a portable USB or wall plug-in diffuser, or creating a bottle mist scent can help fight the odours of a bedroom, vehicle, or sports gear. Natural essential oils are highly concentrated and should be used with care. There are some essential oils that are not recommended for use depending on age, so a quick visit to nowfoods.ca/kidseosafety can steer you in the right direction.

Whatever stage you are in, from diapers to diplomas, be sure to share natural essential oils with your children and develop some scentful habits that are good for their health and the world they live in. For more information on NOW® Essential Oils and recipe ideas, visit www.nowfoods.ca/essential-oils

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Positive Affirmations for Healthier Women When accompanied by action, positive affirmations can be part of a daily practice that helps women transform into the people they long to be.

Positive affirmations are a way of speaking into reality what we hope to experience. And research shows that spiritual practices like these are associated with better health for women. That means, by repeating a specially chosen affirmation in the morning, women can drive real transformation in their lives. But there’s an art to the practice of positive affirmations. Speaking words like “I will be happy” won’t work if the affirmation is not paired with action. Though research shows that affirmations do help people deal with their most difficult thoughts and emotions, they simply aren’t as powerful on their own. Here’s what you can keep in mind as you practice the art of positive affirmations:

Choose affirmations that express your intentions 1

What words best express your deepest longings, your core intentions? Are you struggling with anything in particular? Do you have a sense that you need to transform in a particular way? How would you describe that transformation? 2

Pursue deeper inner work

The words on their own aren’t cure-alls. Make sure that you’re also working to better understand your inner self. Perhaps start your day by journaling, then spend a few minutes repeating affirmations. Ensure that your affirmations connect with what your intuition is telling you about yourself. To do that, you must spend time in quiet reflection. 3

Take action steps

What do your affirmations tell you about the steps you need to take? What is the first thing you could do to make your desires become realities? Once again, affirmations aren’t cure-alls; they don’t work in isolation. But when they go hand in hand with action steps, they are incredibly transformative.




6 Foods to Support a Healthy Menopause Foods with naturally high levels of phytoestrogens can ease the symptoms of menopause and support a healthier transition into a new phase of life. 1



This juicy, delightfully round fruit is a rich source of antioxidants, fibre, and of course, phytoestrogens. In addition to its menopause-easing effects, it’s also linked with reduced obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes—all conditions for which women are at a higher risk as they age. 5

This versatile legume is a boon to women’s health. Its isoflavones can increase the level of estrogen in a menopausal body, reducing difficult side effects like hot flashes. Plus, it offers a healthy dose of protein, which boosts metabolisms that can start to flag with age. 2

Organic Peanut Butter

Peanut butter—ideally made with organic Valencia peanuts—is another plant-protein-rich food that’s packed with the phytoestrogens that ease menopause. Half of its fat content is made up of oleic acid, making it a heart-healthy snack for curbing cravings. Just reach for organic brands with no added hydrogenated oils or sugars! 3


Chickpeas (or garbanzo beans) are another protein and fibre-packed legume that promotes feelings of fullness while supporting healthier menopause. As with the other foods on this list, the phytoestrogens in chickpeas mimic the properties of estrogen—on a weaker scale than the actual hormone—helping restore balance to a body in transition.


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Flax Seeds

Flax seeds (or linseeds) are rich in plant-based protein, heart-healthy omega-3 acids, fibre, and essential minerals like thiamine, manganese, and magnesium. Plus, their high levels of lignans make flax seeds an excellent natural alternative to hormone replacement therapy. They may even help reduce the risk of osteoporosis. 6


Like many dark-coloured fruits, the antioxidant-rich plum offers a wide range of health benefits. It can improve cardiovascular health, support bone density, lower the risks of cholesterol and diabetes, and improve digestive health. Also, its phytoestrogen content makes it yet another boon in the menopausal transition.


THE GAP: 3 STATISTICS REVEALING THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCES BETWEEN WOMEN’S AND MEN’S HEALTH When we analyze Canada’s health figures, these are the biggest differences between women and men. According to Statistics Canada, men and women share many similarities when it comes to health, with each group reporting comparable levels of physical and mental wellbeing. But the differences do exist, and they are intriguing to review. From drinking habits to mood disorders, many of these differences point to social realities impacting the genders. How do men and women cope with stress? How do they pursue—or abandon—self-care throughout their lifespans? Here are 3 statistics revealing some of the biggest differences between men’s and women’s health in Canada:

DRINKING: One of the most dramatic differences between men and women shows up in terms of drinking habits. In fact, men engage in heavy drinking more than twice as often as women. In 2009, only 10% of women reported heavy drinking, compared to 25% of men. AEROBIC FITNESS: When it comes to aerobic fitness, women and men trade places based on what age group they fit into. Among the younger set—age 20 to 39—women are fitter, with only 37% reporting that they needed to improve their aerobic fitness. But among the older set—40 to 59 years—men have the edge, with only 32% reporting that they needed improvement, compared to 56% of women. MOOD DISORDERS: In certain age groups—like, for example, ages 25 to 44—women are more than twice as likely as men (8.9% compared to 4.6%) to be diagnosed with a mood disorder like depression or bipolar. However, since women are also more likely to seek professional help, this may influence the rates of diagnosis.

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Thyroid Disease is Skyrocketing 3 Ways to Reduce your Risk and

Progression of Hypothyroidism DR. EMILY LIPINSKI

In the past, thyroid disorders were considered uncommon. Now, it is estimated that 200 million people worldwide are suffering from thyroid disease. Sadly, over 50 percent of people living with hypothyroidism are undiagnosed and may be suffering without proper treatment.


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My thyroid disease journey is like many others and started years before finally being diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I had numerous symptoms, including unexplained weight gain, intolerance to cold and a puffy-looking face. However, every time I went to my doctor, they told me everything was normal. Finally, years after my symptoms began, my TSH was elevated on blood work, but so were thyroid antibodies - the markers for Hashimoto’s (a form of autoimmune hypothyroidism). Seven years later, I can proudly say I am in “remission” of autoimmune thyroid disease. The thyroid gland is a tiny, butterfly-shaped organ located in the neck. Thyroid hormones, particularly T3 and T4, provide energy for every one of the cells in your body. The most common reason for hypothyroidism is the autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Approximately 80-90% of people living with hypothyroidism in North America have Hashimoto’s, and many of them do not even know it because they have never been tested for the antibodies! These antibodies essentially attack the thyroid gland over time and can slowly damage this important hormone gland. If you believe you may have thyroid disease, it is essential to test TSH, TPO and TgAb antibodies. We can only respond to most thyroid issues by addressing the root cause and reducing the chance of autoimmune disease development. Here are three ways to reduce the risk or progression of Thyroid Disease.

Focus on Incorporating Thyroid Healing Foods into your Diet Certain foods, such as processed and packaged foods, refined sugar & grains, vegetable oils, and too much gluten, can be harmful to the thyroid gland and undesirable for gut health and autoimmune disease in general. Instead, by focusing on a whole foods diet (organic when possible), we expose our body to nutrientrich foods that work to reduce inflammation. Certain essential foods may also offer particular benefits to the thyroid gland. Nettle leaf, most commonly consumed as a tea, is known for its anti-inflammatory effects and may help autoimmune disease. Black Seed (nigella) has been shown to help reduce thyroid antibodies in a recent study, and it also may offer benefit to the digestive tract. Foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids, such as fatty fish from cold water (think sardines, anchovies and wild-caught Pacific salmon), offer tremendous benefits for lowering inflammation in the body and can be beneficial for brain function and mood.

Reduce Toxins Unfortunately, we live in a day and age where toxins are all around us, and the thyroid gland is susceptible to toxins. Our bodies are designed to filter and eliminate toxins, but they can only do so much. Over time, if the exposure is high, the body can accumulate these unwanted substances and cause disease. Certain chemicals are specifically harmful to the thyroid gland and should be avoided or reduced. These substances include (but are not limited to) fluoride, bromide, chemicals in plastics such as BPA and BPS, pesticides and phthalates. We won’t altogether avoid exposure to these things; however, we can certainly limit it. I suggest filtering your water, choosing organic (as much as possible), avoiding plastic water bottles (and never storing your food in plastic) and checking your body care products for fragrances and other hard to pronounce words. Swap out the plastics and other chemicals for glass water bottles, glass food storage containers and organic or toxin-free beauty care products.

Address your Gut Health It may sound strange to focus on the gut when we are talking about the thyroid gland. However, recent research conducted by Dr. Fasano, director of the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital, shows that an autoimmune disease (such as Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism) is often linked to leaky gut. Symptoms of leaky gut are often similar to the symptoms of hypothyroidism and include fatigue, headaches, bloating, constipation or diarrhea, memory changes, and food sensitivities. If you have thyroid disease or suspect you may have thyroid disease, speak to your health care provider about testing for thyroid antibodies and testing for leaky gut!

DR. EMILY LIPINSKI is a Toronto-based naturopathic doctor specializing in thyroid health.  EMILYLIPINSKI.COM  DRLIPINSKI




Natural Alternatives to Cleaning Products that Hurt Women’s Health Certain chemicals in cleaning products pose special risks to women’s health, including infertility and breast cancer. Here’s what to watch out for—and what to use as alternatives. Clean Glass & Mirrors Safely 1

Glass cleaners often contain glycol ethers like 2-butoxyethanol, and these solvents have been linked with low birth weight in exposed mice. To clean glass and mirrors safely, use two cups of water mixed with two tablespoons of vinegar. Tip: using a microfibre cloth definitely enhances the effectiveness of this solution.

Natural All-Purpose Cleaners




Harm-Free Laundry

The phthalates that conventional laundry detergents normally contain have been linked with an increased risk of breast cancer. There are many commercially produced phthalate-free detergents—just check the labels—but for the adventurous, there are recipes for DIY detergents online. Normally, you just need washing soda, finely grated soap, and lemon essential oil.



Unfortunately, it is all too common for all-purpose cleaners to contain alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs) and nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) surfactants. These chemicals can harm women’s reproductive health. To create a safe, natural alternative, just blend half a cup of distilled white vinegar with 2 cups of water and 20 drops of essential oils— whatever you want your home to smell like!


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Disinfect Without Distress

Quaternary ammonium compounds (quats) are a group of chemicals that new research is linking to birth defects. And unfortunately, in the age of COVID-19, they are commonly found in disinfecting wipes. Fortunately, an alternative exists: fill a 16 oz spray bottle most of the way with rubbing alcohol or vodka, then add half a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide.


with Allison Tannis

Tune in to the Vista Natural Health Influencer Podcast available on TUNEIN IHEARTRADIO STITCHER






Wakame If you’ve ever eaten seaweed salad at your favourite sushi restaurant, then you’re familiar with wakame. This brownish or deep green seaweed isn’t just valuable for its distinctively briny flavour. It may, in fact, be one of the key factors making Japan a “blue zone” where more people live past 100 years of age. Burn More Fat Research shows that the component known as fucoxanthin in wakame promotes fat burning in two ways. First, it boosts DHA production in the liver, decreasing LDL, or “bad cholesterol”. Second, it supports the protein that oxidizes fat, particularly around organs and the abdominal region.

Prevent Osteoporosis Wakame is an excellent plant-based source of calcium, with one 100-gram serving providing 15% of your daily calcium needs. This essential nutrient, of course, increases bone growth and stimulates bone repair, preventing osteoporosis.

Fight Diabetes The fucoxanthin in wakame not only encourages fatburning but protects the body from Type 2 diabetes. In one 2009 study, researchers found that obese mice suffering from hyperglycemia, hyperleptinemia, and hyperinsulinemia—all of which are connected with diabetes—reversed these conditions when wakame was added to their diet.

Balance Hormones Naturally With its high levels of iron, manganese, and calcium, wakame helps balance hormones naturally. One study shows that women with insufficient manganese tend to suffer more from pain and mood disturbances prior to menstruation and during menopause. By eating more wakame, PMS-prone women can reduce some of these distressing symptoms.

Reduce High Blood Pressure Wakame appears to have the ability to naturally prevent high blood pressure. Multiple studies have observed that this seaweed tends to reduce systolic blood pressure and hypertension. In fact, it may even have a beneficial effect on blood pressure among children.


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Featured Ambassador Recipe If you’re looking to implement more collagen into your diet, using bone broth in your day-to-day cooking is an excellent method. Try this ‘set it and forget it’ Chicken Tortilla Soup which makes for an easy weeknight dinner made right in the slow cooker. The best slow cooker soup recipes include a wide variety of flavours and colours just like this one, and most of the ingredients are ones you likely already have in the pantry and fridge!

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup Makes 4 - 6 servings

Ingredients • 1 tbsp avocado oil • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs • 1 yellow onion, finely diced • 3 garlic cloves, minced • 2 jalapeños, seeded and finely diced • 2 limes, juiced • 3½ cups canned crushed tomatoes • 2 cups canned black beans, drained and rinsed • 1 cup sweet corn, canned or frozen • 5 cups organic chicken bone broth • 2 tsp chilli powder • 2 tsp cumin • 1 tsp dried oregano • 1 tsp paprika • ½ tsp sea salt, plus more to taste • ¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper

Directions Recommended garnishes (optional) • Tortilla strips or tortilla chips • Avocado, diced • Sour cream, plain Greek yogurt or dairy-free alternative • Shredded Monterey jack, cheddar or dairy-free cheese • Chopped cilantro • Diced green onion

1 Add avocado oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. 2 Season chicken thighs with salt, pepper and half the paprika, then add to the skillet and brown on each side. 3 Once browned, transfer chicken to a slow cooker. 4 Add garlic, onion and jalapeño to the same pan and sauté for a few minutes till onions are translucent. Transfer everything over to the slow cooker. 5 Next, add the crushed tomatoes, black beans, sweet corn, chicken broth, chilli powder, cumin, oregano, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper to the slow cooker and stir to combine. 6 Cook soup on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-7 hours. 7 Remove cooked chicken, shred, then add back to the slow cooker. Add the lime juice, stir to combine and adjust any seasonings to your liking. When you’re ready to serve, ladle soup into bowls and top with some garnishes!

KAT KRIVANEK, R.H.N. is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, certified personal trainer, Digital Account Executive and Ambassador with Vista Magazine. Through nutrition consulting and healthy lifestyle programs, she promotes a holistic approach to gut health, increasing energy and weight management using real, nutrient-dense foods and simple recipes that fit busy lifestyles.  KATKRIVANEKNUTRITION  KATKRIVANEKNUTRITION.COM



Women’s Health & Self-Awareness SANDY KRUSE

How well do you understand your emotions and actions and most importantly, relating to personal wellness, what your body is saying to you?


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Self-awareness encompasses many elements, including: • Knowing when you need a break. • Understanding how your words and actions can affect others. • Feeling symptoms in your body which signal that something is off. • Dealing with pain or stress or anything that comes your way in a constructive way vs pushing it away through food, alcohol or drugs. I will specifically speak about selfawareness as it relates to health and wellness. Self-awareness begins to develop at a very young age. We all learn it, but to what extent? How do we go deeper? We learn through life experiences. Through others. Through the wisdom of ourselves and our bodies. Where do we unlearn self-awareness as it relates to our health? Through conventional means, we learn that everything we are feeling is “normal”, or that lack of sleep when we have a newborn is “normal.” Or that if you fall between extensive diagnostic lab ranges, nothing is wrong. Or that you simply need to “suck it up” because you’re a new mother. All this despite how we are feeling. In a sense, we tend to believe that our feelings are unwarranted, unjustified or normal throughout various situations. If your body is speaking to you and it doesn’t feel great, it is not normal. Symptoms that don’t go away are not typical. Some symptoms may be familiar, but that does not mean they’re normal. For mothers, their sense of self often takes a back seat when children come into the picture. I was a perfect example of this in my 30’s until I had thyroid cancer at 41. I had many years with adrenal and thyroid dysfunction symptoms, yet it wasn’t until an incidental finding found I had a problem – after it was too late. I lost my thyroid gland and a couple of lymph nodes as a result, and I must now take medication for the rest of my life. This result is a high price to pay for

being just “normal” all those years leading up to my very sudden diagnosis. Cancer or any other major illness does not develop in a day. The signs are usually there well in advance. We are either not attuned to them or unaware of the severity and believe they’re normal. Another critical phase in a woman’s life is perimenopause and menopause, when many women suffer pretty extensive symptoms. It is a time of hormonal fluctuation and change and not a time to ignore signs. Selfawareness of what’s happening with your body is crucial to getting past menopause with relative ease and health — an important stepping stone to ageing healthfully well into your golden years. My goal in life is to age healthfully, gracefully and with ease so that I may enjoy my life here on earth. Whether we are in the child-bearing stage of life, perimenopause or menopause, we need to be permitted to own our feelings. Such is the first step to healthy self-awareness, a healthy lifestyle and healthy ageing.

“ …we need to be given permission for our feelings. This is the first step to a healthy self-awareness, a healthy lifestyle and healthy aging. ”

SANDY KRUSE of Sandy K Nutrition is a registered holistic nutritionist and podcaster who works mostly with women over 40. Sandy shows them through customized, balanced programs she constructs, that you can age gracefully, healthfully, and beautifully.  SANDYKNUTRITION.CA  SANDYKNUTRITION





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2020 was a crazy year fraught with loneliness, uncertainty and worse, and the pandemic has only reinforced the standards being held up to all companies. In fact, 42% of Millennials have “begun or deepened” their relationships with businesses they believe have positive impacts on society or the environment, and 37% have backed away from companies they didn’t believe were ethical and didn’t align with their values.  It’s been a hard year, no doubt, however giving back remains at the forefront of my family’s mission, and the purpose of Nature’s Path, as it does for many others too. From the beginning, my parents have had strong values – values which they ingrained in me and my three sisters, and which they baked into the delicious organic foods they were creating. For us, giving back started in the 1930s, with my grandfather, Rupert Stephens. Grandpa Stephens raised my dad Arran on an organic berry farm, teaching him to always “leave the earth better than you found it” by nourishing and caring for the soil and avoiding synthetic pesticides. We were brought up to always think of others and give as much as we could to those in need, and not just on a personal level.   When they started Nature’s Path in 1985, it was pretty rare to find a company that thought about business through a lens of giving back. My parents call this approach “taking care of the triple bottom line” –

respecting in equal measure people, planet and profits. This approach doesn’t mean you can’t be successful, just not at the expense of your team, or the environment, or your community.  Back then, there were a few companies walking the same walk – Ben and Jerry’s, Patagonia and Dr. Bronner’s come to mind – but it was rare for the most part as most of the work around affecting social change was reserved for volunteers and non-profit organizations. Now, in 2021, the way businesses are run is much different, in a good way! Despite the intense pressure to be profitable, it’s no longer (often) at the expense of people or the planet. Over the past few years, I have seen an incredible surge in socially responsible businesses and purposedriven companies. Giving back and being socially aware has become a fundamental philosophy.  This sea-change is a definite reflection of a societal change, led by Millennials and Gen-Z. According to the Deloitte Global Millennial Survey, “Millennials and Gen Zs, in general, will patronize and support companies that align with their values.” Almost three quarters (74%) of millennials surveyed say more brands should take public stands on important social issues. And the environment is at the top of the list.  According to a 2018 Nielsen poll, a full 85% of Millennials and 80% of Gen-Z ranked the environment number one when deciding which companies they will engage with.  In 2021, if a company doesn’t incorporate waste reduction, clean water programs and energy conservation into their everyday practices, they ignore the needs of the planet and the demands of the consumer. And our family’s company knows this firsthand! Nature’s Path was the first North American cereal company to have Zero Waste certified manufacturing facilities. We proudly support 100 percent renewable energy for our manufacturing plants, and have also pledged to make all our packaging either reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.   With so many people going through hard times, it’s more important than ever to look around, find ways to help, and support businesses, big or small, with an ethical mission and purpose. From creating their own Volunteer Committee to incorporating give back tie-ins to their products or services, companies can be a force for good — providing their team members with mechanisms to express their values and support their communities.    If companies build giving back into their every day, over time, giving becomes a natural part of who they are. Let’s continue to hold businesses up to these crucial standards! 



Women, The Over-Achievers LEANNE SAWCHUK

How high-functioning anxiety might be impacting you and how you can return to yourself. 22

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We often think of anxiety as this crippling force that takes over our body and psyche, arriving without warning to play out the worst-case scenarios imaginable. Symptoms come to the body like a tsunami — panic, trembling, sweating, racing thoughts, pounding heart, and shallow breathing. It can be utterly immobilizing. However, we don’t talk nearly as much about those with high-functioning anxiety: the workoholics, over-achievers, go-getters, perfectionists, and the “I cando-all-the-things” individuals. In fact, this type of anxiety is often validated, honoured, valued, and complimented. “Wow, how do you do it?” people may ask you. Or, “I have lost track of how much you accomplish in a day. When do you sleep?” others may comment. These statements are rarely is replied with, “Thanks, it’s the anxiety and my deep fear of not being enough,” do we? No. Instead, we accept the validation, but somehow it never truly lands. High-functioning anxiety is something I am seeing and treating more and more in my practice, especially amongst women. Initially, many women do not describe themselves as anxious but will say things like, “I am just so stressed out!!”. While they may be feeling an element of stress due to the increased cortisol levels in their bodies, what is fueling all of this at the root is high-functioning anxiety and FEAR. Fear of not being enough. Fear of not being worthy. Fear of rejection. Fear of not being loved. Fear of judgment. On the inside, many people with high-functioning anxiety spend a lot of time overthinking and ruminating about anything and everything. There is an

intense fear of failure, and they often find themselves worrying about what others may think of them. I know this first-hand because I used to be one of these women. I used to be vastly overwhelmed. I would ruminate over the list of things I needed to achieve, accomplish, and complete from the moment I woke up until I went to bed – and sometimes at 3:00 am as well. I was never present. I was always thinking about something I needed to do or something else that required my attention. One day this all came to a screeching halt as my nervous system decided to shut down. I soon realized I had arrived upon an emotional burnout. The thing with this type of anxiety is that you are still a highly functioning human being. The anxiety is there, but it is lurking just beneath the surface. Many of the women I treat with high-functioning anxiety are often incredibly intelligent, successful, and goal-driven. To people on the outside looking in, they often appear as having it all together and even appear relatively calm and grounded. Functioning at a heightened sense of anxiety for a long time can develop into a severe autoimmune response which can lead to full-blown emotional burnout. Reaching this point is your body forcing you to stop, quite literally. It is a call for you to come back to your center, back to yourself. However, reaching the point of burnout before making a change is not the goal here. Ideally, we want to start paying attention to what our body, mind, and soul want and need and tend to it much sooner. For me, I embarked on a deeply spiritual journey. I already had many tools in my belt at this time, as I was undergoing my

LEANNE SAWCHUK is a registered psychotherapist with a private practice in the Kitchener-Waterloo area. She works with couples and individuals, both in-person and online. You can connect with her at  LEANNESAWCHUK.COM or  LEANNESAWCHUKTHERAPY.

training to be a Psychotherapist (oh, the irony). I took to diving deeper into energy healing, journaling, a radical shift in my eating, and meditation. I also took a hard look at my boundaries (or lack thereof) and began exercising the use of the word “no.” Inner peace became a nonnegotiable in my life, something I was no longer willing to sacrifice. If you suspect that you have highfunctioning anxiety, know that you can also heal. Healing asks you to take an honest look at how you are showing up in your life, your relationships, and the fears at the root of your anxiety. It requires boundary setting, handing off the torch to someone else, practicing presence, and developing a conscious relationship with yourself. These are all things I explore in my oneon-one work and my upcoming online Freedom From Anxiety Program, which is open for registration now. To reserve a space in the program, you can contact me directly or visit www.leannesawchuk.com and click on Online Programs. In the meantime, the following is an excellent grounding technique that can help you return to center.

Rooted Feet This technique is an alternative to meditation and can be done either sitting or standing. With your feet on the floor, feel where your feet meet the surface. Feel your entire foot as much as you can: heel, sole, ball of foot, and toes. Notice all the sensations in your and focus all of your attention there. Take some deep breaths. Rooted Feet is a somatic technique that allows you to slow down and be in the moment, giving your nervous system a much-needed breath. Healing from high-functioning anxiety is possible. Small and consistent changes and rituals add up and will be your anchors along the way.



Healthy Skin, Happy Baby Carolyn and Josh, partners in business and in life, share with us the story of Duckish, a line of baby necessities formulated with natural ingredients for skin.


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“ When it comes to ingredients, we like to keep things simple, but focus on quality.” Can you tell us more about Duckish’s approach to bath, body, and baby products? What do your products deliver and how do they do it?  When it comes to ingredients, we like to keep things simple, but focus on quality. Something key for us is to skip any ingredient that doesn’t have a purpose or is just a filler. The idea is to give people concentrated, worry-free bath, body and baby care products that work. For our body balm sticks, for example, we’ve combined an incredibly concentrated moisturizing formula with a unique delivery mechanism to allow you to put lotion exactly where you need it. You just pull the cap off, twist the stick up and apply. No need to get your hands full of lotion. And because it’s solid, it won’t spill or leak in your bag. The same logic applies to our bath bombs. We’ve replaced the artificial fragrances and fillers you normally get in a bath bomb with essential oils and moisturizers to make each bath extra special. Your business has a unique origin story. Can you tell us about how you formed a family and a business in one fell swoop?  The short answer is by accident! I met Josh in a class over a decade ago. At the time,

starting a business was not on the radar. But we both had the entrepreneurial itch and wanted to build something of our own. After a few years of research and tinkering with recipe development, the products I was making for myself and friends snowballed into the line of bath, body and baby care that today is Duckish. And in the middle of our business finding its legs, Josh and I had a little boy in 2016! He came with us to shows and meetings for quite some time and was the reason many customers came by our booth in the early days. What was your first major inspiration for building this company? After my sister had a baby, we had a chat about baby products, including diaper cream. We noted how baby products can have not-so-great ingredient lists, which is crazy to me as you’re putting them on newborns, and how natural products are often really expensive. My research revolved around trying to create a diaper cream in a twist-up stick that had great ingredients and made it easy to apply. I had a lot more time then! Once I had a diaper cream that my sister and the other new parents in our lives were happy with, it made me think of how I could try to make something that would deal with the eczema patches I’d struggled with




for years. That’s what led to the development of our mini body balm sticks and really how Duckish came to be. What are the most challenging things about running your business? Finding enough hours and energy in the day to balance between work, family and my sanity is always a huge challenge. Also, our business isn’t just one thing: we’re not just a formulator and manufacturer, we’re a wholesaler, an online store, and an employer. There are a lot of balls to keep in the air! But we’re always thinking about the best ways to grow Duckish and how to continue helping people feel great in their skin. What are the specific challenges of creating “effective, worry-free, natural” products?  The easier, cheaper route would be to add fillers like water and harsh preservatives to products and call it a day. We spend a lot of time thinking about and testing how we can create products without that stuff, which means customers don’t have to worry about


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what’s inside and they get way better value for their money. The downside of this creation process is that it takes a long time and is often more expensive from a product development viewpoint. We also spend a lot of time thinking of better delivery mechanisms for the products we create, which is why we landed on easy-to-use sticks for our moisturizers and wellproportioned cubes for our bath bombs. What’s your vision for the future of your business? Right now, we’re in the process of developing new products including shampoo and conditioner bars, deodorant, and body wash bars, along with some new baby products. The idea for the near future is to offer complete bath and body lines for women and babies. In the long term, we remain committed to offering the best products and creating opportunities for women. We’ll continue to partner with women-focused organizations, create jobs within Duckish and support our community in as many ways as we can.  DUCKISH.CA  DUCKISHNATURALSKINCARE

F E AT U R E D P R O D U C T S  With the NINJA® FOODI™ POWER NUTRI™ DUO® SMOOTHIE BOWL MAKER and Personal Blender, you can blend nutritious and delicious juices and extractions right in your to-go cup. This intelligently designed system streamlines your mornings by minimizing cleanup, making it easier than ever to eat fruits and veggies. Have more time in the morning? Make your a thick and creamy smoothie bowl with the ‘smoothie bowl’ function.  NINJAKITCHENCANADA

 With the magic of air frying, vegetable dishes have become something everyone can look forward to, whether you’re whipping up crunchy avocado tacos, crispy cauliflowers wings or even baconwrapped Brussels sprouts, for something more indulgent. THE NINJA® FOODI™ 2-BASKET AIR FRYER with DualZone™ Technology can make two healthy and delicious dishes at once with separate cooking times and temperatures to serve everything at the same time — nothing gets cold while you wait. Air frying requires 75% less oil than traditional frying methods, delivering the same crunch without the extra oil, making this a much healthier option and a treat that you can feel good about.  NINJAKITCHENCANADA

 The PHILIPS ONE BY SONICARE is Sonicare’s first-ever battery-operated toothbrush. Featuring a new bold design and travel case that will add a fun pop of colour to your oral healthcare routine and deliver a fresher, brighter smile anywhere you go. Available in four vibrant colours including Mango, Miami, Midnight and Mint to match your personality.  PHILLIPSSONICARE

 Compact, cordless convenience meets full-size professional performance. Powered by 7.4 volts of lithiumion efficiency and easily rechargeable with a USB cord, the EVOLUTIONX ™ CORDLESS RECHARGEABLE PERSONAL BLENDER does it all, from blending smoothies and shakes to crushing ice and puréeing soups. Portable. Powerful. Perfect or use at home or on the go!  CUISINARTCANADA



Detoxify Your Body Naturally DANIELA DEFEO

With the change in seasons and warmer weather on the horizon, Spring cleaning is top of mind – and not just within our homes, but our bodies too. The word “detox” has become all the craze, with many women joining the cleansing movement from juicing diets, supplements, herbs, teas, even colon cleansing or enemas. And, although some of these activities may be beneficial to support the elimination of toxins from the body, the truth is, the body is well-equipped to detoxify itself naturally. How does the body detoxify itself ? The human body is a phenomenal, systematic machine with the ability to perform specific functions necessary for sustaining life. When it comes to the detoxification process, it’s capable of cleansing most toxins through the liver, feces, urine and sweat – with the liver being a fundamental component, neutralizing toxic substances and ensuring it’s released from the body. Yet, this isn’t to say the body wouldn’t appreciate a little help to ease the burden from dietary and environmental impacts. How to support the detox process? There are numerous ways you can naturally aid the body in ridding it of chemicals, toxins and other substances. Lifestyle and dietary modifications can support the body’s natural purification process, thus boosting the immune system and energy levels and promoting radiant hair, skin and nails. This balances hormones to encourage healthier menstrual cycles, reduces PMS symptoms, and aids with health and weight loss efforts. The following is a list of healthy habits I recommend in my coaching practice to enhance the body’s natural detoxification.


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Eat Wholesome Foods

Oral Health

Up the ante with nutrient-dense meals and limit consumption of sugar and processed foods. Choose to fill your plate with antioxidant-rich items like blueberries, vegetables and nuts as they promote detoxification by reducing damage caused by free radicals, thus lowering the risk of illness. In contrast, overconsumption of highly processed foods can negatively impact vital organs, like the liver and kidneys, that clean and filter waste by-products. Limit these foods and replace them with healthier options.

Good oral hygiene will control toxin levels in your mouth. Microorganisms live in your mouth — some are good, some are bad. However, when the harmful bacteria are not managed through regular brushing, flossing and limiting sugar intake, this can lead to an array of oral health conditions such as bad breath, gingivitis, cavities, and plaque build-up. With bacterial overgrowth and infections in the mouth, this can travel throughout the body, thus contaminating it and leading to many other ailments. Keep your mouth health in check with a daily brushing routine, plus other considerations like tongue scraping and oil pulling, which act to remove toxins from the oral cavity.

Sweat It Out Get moving to help support the elimination of toxins. Regular exercise through activities like weight training and cardio benefits the detox process as it encourages the optimal circulation of the blood and lymphatic system and increases sweat production. This, in turn, may lower inflammation, aiding the organs to cleanse themselves efficiently to promote the release of toxins. It’s recommended to partake in at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise a week. Consider walking, running, cycling or aerobics class.

Fill It Up Keep your bottle topped up with Mother Nature’s purest source, water. Drinking the daily recommended 6-8 cups of water a day keeps the kidneys and liver performing at optimal levels, thereby removing contaminants and salt from the blood and reducing fat deposits in the body. Water aids in the transportation of waste products by pulling them through urination, sweating and breathing. Make it your go-to beverage of choice over its caffeinated, carbonated or sugar-laden alternatives.

Bed Time Sleep is an essential component in rejuvenating and cleansing the body. Maintaining a healthy circadian rhythm — the body’s sleep/wake cycle — is vital in the detoxification process as many bodily and hormonal functions operate based upon it. During shut-eye hours, the purification process kicks in, allowing organs such as the lungs and liver to break down waste and promote blood circulation, thereby ridding the body of unwanted pollutants and excess salts. Avoid caffeine, electronics before bed and dim the lights to get your body prepped for sleep.

Skin Deep Take care of the largest organ of your body, the skin. One of the skin’s primary functions is to protect the body from chemicals, bacteria, and temperature. Being the front line of defence can take a toll, so it’s essential to support the body’s abilities to eliminate toxins from these elements. Consider dry brushing, which removes dead skin cells from the surface, promotes lymphatic drainage and stimulates circulation. Pay attention to the ingredients list on skincare items containing heavy metals like aluminum and plastic such as polyethylene or polypropylene. Body lotions, soaps, deodorants, even makeup applied regularly are absorbed through the skin, which may have properties that could be toxic. Opt for organic/natural products made from environmentally-friendly ingredients or do-it-yourself items to curb potential skin exposure. The body is a miraculous machine with an integrated system for detoxification. Implementing healthy lifestyle habits through good body and oral health practices, choosing wholesome foods and staying active can support the body in saying good riddance to toxins.

DANIELA DEFEO is a published author, health/ fitness coach and wellness influencer. Her contributions have been featured in top health/ fitness publications, and she works with reputable brands to promote holistic health through content creation and promotions. In her coaching practice, she provides personalized nutrition and fitness programs. Connect with her at DEEVITAREFLECTIONS and DEEVITAWELLNESS.COM




Registered Holistic Nutritionist Iva Pravda shares her personalized approach to wellness as well as some tips to keep you feeling your best.

Health Customized What’s your “why”? Why did you become a holistic nutritionist? When I was younger, I had many disappointing experiences with allopathic medicine and again later in life with my son. My son was the tipping point for me — this is when I started searching, doing my research, and schooling myself in different ways to help and allow the body to heal itself. When you work with women, what are the most common problems you are seeing? What do you end up recommending? Although women’s health tends to be more sensitive due to birthing, I believe a common trait in both genders would be repetitive stress disorder, amiably known as SSDD. As people develop their routines and comfort zones and, either knowingly or not, find themselves in a repetitive loop, whether within work or diet or other, this seems to lead to problems. Lately,


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the most common issues are anxiety, indigestion, bloating, and iron deficiency. We need to address the stress, support the gut, and some supplements for all of them. I always consider the prescribed medications to make sure there are no interactions. Anxiety I personally like the GABA and L-theanine and add some herbal teas such as lavender, chamomile, lemon balm Indigestion Digestive enzymes are tremendous helpers if the correct ones are selected, plus ginger or fennel teas are my favourites Bloating Keep homeopathic remedy Lycopodium on hand (unless you are lactose intolerant), drink peppermint tea after meals. If you have some caraway seeds in your spice cabinet, chew them as needed — this was my grandmother’s favourite remedy.

“ I don’t have any blueprints that I need someone’s situation to fall into — everyone is different and experiences things differently.”



“ I would like to see people more educated about a holistic approach to health and wellness.” What’s your philosophy of health and wellness? How does your approach make you different from more conventional medical or nutritional practitioners? I don’t have any blueprints that I need someone’s situation to fall into — everyone is different and experiences things differently. If you tell me your symptoms, all I can do is believe you and go from there. It is then my job to ask the right questions to gain the best understanding of your situation. In asking these questions, we can work as a team to narrow down your symptoms’ root cause and figure out the best way forward for you. I am a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and have also gotten certified in understanding lab diagnostics in clinical practice. My education, combined with my experiences with clients within the industry, allows me to base my nutritional and supplement recommendations according to your specific needs. From my years of being in this ever-changing industry, I would say my knowledge of supplements and natural products makes me different. I`m always trying new things — I love to experiment. I’ve spent years comparing different products and collecting feedback from others about their experiences as well. How does a day in your life as an online nutritional coach look? I’m not entirely online, so I guess it could look a bit scattered from the outside. Besides working online, I also work at a health food store so that people can interact with me there. As for the rest, I am human and just trying to juggle it the best I can.


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What’s your vision for the future? What do you hope to see through your work? I would like to see people more educated about a holistic approach to health and wellness. I believe that all healthcare and wellness practitioners could work together to be a supportive team in aiding an individual towards their health goals. The medical and alternative approach could go hand in hand to benefit all people. Our bodies are like cars; not everyone is born with a “Porsche,” but as long as we can take care of them, they can take us on quite a journey. A lot of the time, I see people treating their cars better than their bodies. Some people have 3-4 coffees a day, plus a couple of cans of soda, a bag of corn chips for dinner, and then they wonder why they are not feeling well. I believe in eating various foods and making small lifestyle alternations one at a time can lead to long-lasting changes. If you could give all women a critical message about their health, what would it be? Never give up!!! Be in charge of your health and take that responsibility. You are in control of what happens to your body. Every day you are making willing or unwilling choices, but how can you expect any improvements if you don`t change anything? You will never know how good you can feel if you don`t try it! You can always get a different opinion or ask another practitioner for their perspective if you are dissatisfied with the level of care you receive from any professional. You don’t have to settle for anything you are told because you are always in charge of your body, health, and future.


Mixed Lentils with Ginger

Ingredients • 2 tbsp avocado oil • 2 small onion, finely chopped • 2 tsp fresh ginger, minced • 3 cloves garlic, minced • 2 bay leaves • 1 tsp turmeric powder • ½ tsp ground caraway seeds • ½ tsp dried curry leaves • 2 cups mixed lentils (red, green, black)

• 2 cups water • 2 celery stalks • 1 tbsp soy sauce • ²⁄³ cup shredded coconut • 2 green onion, chopped • 1 lemon • fresh parsley • salt and pepper • chilli powder to taste

Directions 1 In a large saucepan, heat the oil and sauté the onion, ginger and garlic. Then add the bay leaves, turmeric, pepper, caraway seeds, and chilli. 2 Then add water, lentils, celery, green onion, cover it with a lid and let it simmer for 15-25 minutes. The time depends on how you like your lentils — hard or mushy. 3 Then just add soy sauce, coconut, the juice from lemon, and spices to taste.

Beet Latte

4 Serve warm as a side dish or on toasted bread with lemon slices, and garnish it with extra coconut.

Ingredients • 1 tbsp beet crystals/beet powder • 1 ½ cup vanilla flavoured oat milk • ½ tsp rose water • ¼ tsp ginger powder • 1 tsp unflavored collagen • 1 oz boiling water

Directions 1 Mix the water, beet crystals, rose water, collagen and ginger powder in water. 2 Warm up the milk, add it to the rest and mix well. 3 Use ½ cup milk to create foamed milk with milk frother. 4 Add to the rest and sprinkle the top with beet crystals.




Spinach-Moringa Soup



• 1 package of frozen chopped spinach • 3 small potatoes, cut into small pieces • 2 cups vegetable broth • 1 can coconut milk • 1 small onion, finely chopped • 2 cloves garlic, minced • 1 tbsp moringa powder • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped • 2 tbsp avocado oil • Salt and pepper

1 In a large saucepan, heat the oil and onion, garlic, potatoes and celery for up to 5 minutes.


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2 Mix well and add the vegetable broth and coconut milk. Bring to boil and simmer for 8-10 minutes. 3 Add the spinach, cover and simmer for another 8-10 minutes. 4 Let it cool down a little, add the moringa powder and blend it until smooth. 5 Serve with naan bread and quail eggs.


Bring on the Flax!

Incorporate more of this healthy, versatile ingredient into your diet with these delicious flaxseed recipes.

Flaxseeds — the little seeds with big benefits! Over the years, I couldn’t help but notice that flaxseeds are popping up left and right. They can be used as a plant-based egg replacement in baking (works very well, I must say), added to oatmeal for extra fibre, or just sprinkled over yogurt and added to smoothies! They are an excellent source of fibre, antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and protein. When incorporating these nutrient-rich powerhouse seeds into your diet, it’s important to note that they are better consumed fresh ground as opposed to whole. Ground flax is more soluble, and the nutritional value is more readily available and absorbed. Studies have shown that flaxseeds are beneficial for women's health specifically. They may help with fertility, promote regular ovulation, menstrual cycles, balance hormones, and help protect postmenopausal women from cardiovascular disease. Flaxseeds can be used in both sweet and savoury recipes. Luckily, I have one of each to share! If you’re in the mood for something sweet, my Healthy Baked Olive Oil-Flaxseed Chocolate donuts are sure to hit the spot. Sweetened with banana and maple syrup, they are soft, rich and taste decadent -- they are also egg-free thanks to flaxseed meal which acts as a binder! All you need is a mini donut pan, and you’re set. If you want to incorporate flaxseed into something more savoury, try using it as breading! Mixed with almond flour, herbs, and spices, flaxseed meal makes a beautiful addition to the gluten-free breading mixture for my baked chicken strips! It is perfectly paired with tangy honey mustard dipping sauce for any busy weeknight dinner.



Healthy Baked Olive Oil-Flaxseed Chocolate Donuts Makes 24 mini donuts

Ingredients • ¾ cup almond flour • ½ cup cacao powder • ¼ cup 1:1 gluten-free all-purpose baking flour • 1 teaspoon baking soda • ¼ teaspoon sea salt • 1 large ripe banana • ¹⁄³ cup maple syrup • ½ cup coconut milk • 3 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil • 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Chocolate Icing • ¼ cup creamy almond butter • 2 tablespoons maple syrup • 1 tablespoon cacao powder • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions 1 Preheat the oven to 350° and grease a mini donut baking pan with coconut oil or spray with cooking spray. Set aside. 2 In a medium mixing bowl, combine the almond flour, cacao powder, baking flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix well and set aside. In a blender, combine the banana, maple syrup, coconut milk, oil, flaxseed meal, and vanilla extract. Blend until completely smooth. 3 Slowly stir the wet blended mixture into the dry ingredients. 4 Mix until well combined with no clumps. Transfer the mixture into a freezer bag, and cut off the bottom tip. Gently squeeze the batter into the wells of the greased donut pan and bake for 12-14 minutes or until completely set. To test, insert a toothpick into one of the donuts; if it comes out clean with no batter, the donuts are done. 5 Cool completely before icing the donuts. To make the icing, combine the almond butter, maple syrup, cacao powder, and vanilla extract in the small bowl and fold together until smooth. If the icing is too thick, add a touch of olive oil to thin. Store in an airtight storage container at room temperature for up to 3 days.


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Savoury Flaxseed Chicken Tenders with Tangy Honey Mustard Serves 4

Ingredients • 1½ pounds chicken breast • ¼ cup arrowroot starch • 2 medium eggs, whisked • ¾ cup coarse ground almond flour • ¾ cup flaxseed meal • 3 tablespoons whole flaxseeds • 1½ tablespoon Italian seasoning • 1 teaspoon onion powder • 1 teaspoon garlic powder • 1 teaspoon sea salt • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper • avocado oil spray for cooking

Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce • ½ cup mayonnaise • 2 tablespoons yellow Mustard • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard • 3 tablespoons liquid honey • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar • 1 small garlic clove • ½ teaspoon paprika • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions 1 Preheat the oven to 450° and line a large baking pan with parchment paper. Spray the parchment paper with avocado cooking spray. Cut the chicken breast into large strips and set aside. 2 Create a breading station. In one bowl, add the arrowroot starch. In the second bowl, add the eggs and whisk together, and in the third, combine the almond flour, flaxseed meal, flaxseeds, Italian seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. 3 Add the chicken strips one at a time, dredging in the arrowroot starch, dipping them into the egg, and then cover in the flax meal mixture, placing them on the baking pan once finished. Once all the chicken strips are coated, Spray the top with avocado cooking spray — this will help to brown them more evenly. 4 Bake for 10 minutes, flip, and bake for an additional 8 minutes, depending on how large the strips are. While the chicken strips are baking, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, honey, vinegar, garlic and paprika. Mix well, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy the chicken strips with honey mustard dipping sauce and sides of choice.

KIRSTEN BUCK is a Winnipeg-based holistic nutritionist, food lover, and founder of the popular blog and social media platform Buck Naked Kitchen. She focuses on a nutrient dense, paleo approach to eating. Her contributions can also be seen on popular websites such as The FeedFeed, Joyous Health, and The Food Network Canada. She is passionate about creating delicious recipes using fresh seasonal food that inspire others to make healthy choices and find confidence in the kitchen.  BUCKNAKEDKITCHEN  BUCKNAKEDKITCHEN.COM



 LEXY TROTH is a 22-year-old wellness

Connect with our super inspiring Vista Ambassadors this issue for wellness tips, healthy recipes, fitness advice and more.


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enthusiast from Toronto, Ontario. She is passionate about fitness (specifically running and hiking), food, and wellness! She posts content that ranges anywhere from workouts, to lifestyle content, to food/wellness, to video content. FUN FACT She has a puppy named Jasper, who is always by her side!  LEXYRUNS


 GEORGINA HENDSBEE is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and studying Herbalist on Vancouver Island. Athyrium Wellness is the private practice she started in 2019, focusing on; hormones, digestion and mental health. She believes that with guidance, knowledge and tools, her clients will nourish a sustainable foundation of wellness.

FUN FACT She was born in Manchester, UK, where the majority of her family lives.  ATHYRIUMWELLNESS  ATHYRIUMWELLNESS.CA

 ADA NADISON is an emergency management specialist with a passion for intercontinental cooking. Having lived in several countries growing up, her experiences abroad sparked her love for food at a young age. She believes that food brings us together as human beings. It binds countries, cultures, and families. Food reminds us of the past, connects us to the present, and excites us for the future. She believes that the best restaurant in town can be your kitchen!

FUN FACT Ada is mixed decent (Palestinian and Thai), was born in Bangkok, Thailand and has lived in Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Greece, Peru, and Canada!  ADA_ADVENTURES




 MEAGHAN MARTON is a community change-maker, proud rescue dog mom, animal activist (vegan) and seeker of adventure. She is passionate about making the world a better place for humans and animals by spreading the message of compassion and kindness for all. She lives by the motto “Be The Change”.

FUN FACT “I travelled across North America for 5 months in a 1997 Ford Econoline that I converted and rescued a dog off the streets of Los Angeles.”  MEAGHANMARIIE  THE SWEET LIFE OF BEING VEGAN

 JESSICA PECUSH is a Culinary Nutrition Expert

and Certified Holistic Nutritional Consultant™ based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. She helps high-performing women suffering from autoimmune gut issues take control of their health, repair their gut and reclaim the life they LOVE. Jessica’s passion stems from her journey with Ulcerative Colitis. FUN FACT Jessica loves to travel to far-reaching places of the world, such as the Canary Islands!  JESS_PECUSH_NUTRITION

Find us @VistaMagCanada and follow #VistaMagCanada and #VistaAmbassador. We have you covered for all things health and wellness.


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 PBFIT, this vegan, glutenfree, dairy-free, soy-free, but not taste-free peanut butter contains 3 simple ingredients: gently pressed roasted peanuts, coconut palm sugar and a pinch of salt. When you’re looking for that creamy peanut butter texture, just add water and mix.  PBFIT

PRODUC T SPOTLIGHT  LASPA’s new ANTI-AGING GLYCOLIC PEEL, a unique 2-in-1 glycolic and hyaluronic acid combination helps gently exfoliate and bring moisture to the top of the skin for plumping, softening and reducing redness. Use 5-7 consecutive nights in a row for optimal results. $130 CAD.  LASPANATURALS.COM  LASPANATURALS

 ANXIOCALM™ contains a clinically studied species of echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia) which provides echinacoside, and a unique ratio of alkamides that bind to brain receptors and help to reduce symptoms of anxiety.*  TERRYNATURALLY.CA  TERRYNATURALLYCANADA Could help reduce symptoms associated with normal anxiety. To be sure this product is right for you, always read and follow the label.


 GOOD TO GO’s Keto-certified bars are the perfect way to snack on track! Made with real, tasty ingredients like coconut and raspberries, these healthy bars have a cookie-like texture and are vegan, grain-free, gluten-free, and non-GMO project verified.In addition to their four classic flavours, GOOD TO GO bars are now available in three new flavours: Double Chocolate, Strawberry Macadamia Nut, and Blueberry Cashew  GOODTOGOSNAKCS

 HELENA LANE ORGANIC SKINCARE is a cruelty-free line of products. All of the BC-based brand ingredients are certified organic and plant- or mineral-based, with each product for the face (cleansers, moisturizers, oils, mists, serums) and body (hand & body creams, masks, balms) designed to simplify one’s skincare regime.  HELENALANESKINCARE  HELENALANE.COM

 Nestled in the rolling hills of the Sonoma County coast, family-owned Bellwether Farms crafts SHEEP MILK YOGURT in small batches from whole milk straight from healthy, happy sheep. Available in grocery stores nationwide.  BELLWETHERFARMS.COM  BELLWETHERFARMS

 MO'MUGI is Canada's first roasted barley tea brand, inspired by Japanese mugicha. It has a toasty soothing taste hot & cold. Barley tea is free of caffeine, sugar, calories and carbs. You can get your mo'mugi online at:  TEADESIRE.COM  CANADIANBARLEYTEACOMPANY



Women, Sexual Health, and Cannabis: What You Need to Know KELLY EBBERT


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Often designated as the season of new beginnings, spring offers us a chance to wake up and smell the freshly blossoming flowers, to open our long shuttered windows and finally bask in the warm glow of the sun. In this time of growth, it only makes sense for us to take a moment to check in with ourselves and our health to raise awareness of any issues that may have gone unaddressed during the quiet of winter. Due to gender inequity in the realm of medical practice, there is a substantial gap in medical research on women’s health. Combine that with the stigmatization of women’s bodies and female sexuality, and it becomes much more challenging to address sexual health issues. These are significant systemic issues that beg to be addressed, but it further clarifies that women’s sexual health goes much deeper than what meets the eye. Our bodily systems work in unity with one another, and sexual health is no different, relying heavily on our bodies to work together to stay in good condition. According to Angela Mustone, sexual health industry expert and founder of sexual wellness cannabis brand HighonLove, “Sexual wellness is a key part of overall health. Multiple studies have proven that sexual satisfaction is not only beneficial for healthy relationships but also for physical health. Orgasms can help by reducing stress, boosting immunity, keeping your skin clear and helping you get better sleep... you might say they’re one of nature’s best health supplements.” Experts at Harvard tend to agree and have noted that because of the interconnectedness sex requires within the body, each aspect of us, from our mental health to intricate chemical balances, holds significant influence over our sexual health.

Our sexual being and cannabis Due to that same interconnectedness, it comes as no surprise that keeping our sexual health in check can prove to be a challenge. That’s where cannabis comes into play, as it might aid in promoting women’s sexual health and wellbeing. But, how and what does it add to our sex lives? “Cannabis can be an amazing tool

for priming the body for pleasure,” says Mustone. “Especially for women, it’s common for our mental state to interfere with [our] ability to achieve arousal and orgasm. Cannabis can help you relax and tap into arousal, and then feel less inhibited and less “in your head” during sex itself – so you can truly enjoy every sensation and ultimately have an easier time achieving climax.”

Can cannabis really do all of that? Not only does cannabis have the potential to quell anxiety symptoms that can impact arousal, but it may also help with conditions such as painful intercourse, which can lead to decreased libido. There is a growing body of research that suggests that cannabis might be able to help mitigate some symptoms of pain. This easing of pain could ultimately aid in boosting sexual satisfaction and help you get back on good terms with your sexual health. Intriguingly, cannabis can be used in other ways to enhance your sex life as well, such as cannabis-infused lubricants and even different types of cannabis. “[HighOnLove’s] Stimulating Oil and O Gel, which are applied topically to intimate areas, help to increase blood flow and boost sensitivity (in a good way) while simultaneously increasing natural lubrication. Right now, we’re preparing for the summer launch of a THC line in Canada that will include pre-rolls, dry flower and tinctures made with cannabis strains carefully selected to boost arousal and make sex even better,” says Mustone. Products like sexual lubricants can also benefit women’s health by reducing the risk of infection. When used with condoms, lubrication can decrease friction that can cause condoms to break. Less friction = increased pleasure and an excellent way to protect your sexual health. Like most research regarding cannabis, the relationship between sexual health and cannabis still needs to be studied further. However, it is promising that even if there is no direct link as of yet, due to the fascinating inner workings of the body and cannabis’ influence, cannabis could play a role in boosting sexual desire. By decreasing anxiety and enhancing performance, leading to a more comfortable and relaxed atmosphere, cannabis can be just the solution during some of our most vulnerable times.

KELLY EBBERT spends her time writing and researching to make the world a little brighter. She seeks to help people feel comfortable in their own skin. You can find her meditating or enjoying the simple beauties life brings.



Gut Health and Women’s Depression CRYSTAL HUGHES

Did you know that women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression than men? With the challenges of the past year’s pandemic, depression rates are on the rise. Many factors contribute to depression in women, like puberty, premenstrual problems, pregnancy, postpartum depression, pre-menopause and menopause, and life circumstances and culture.   44

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So what does our gut have to do with our depression? The latest research has shown that 15% of our intestinal lining comprises enteric endocrine cells. These powerhouse cells produce over 90% of the serotonin and over 50% of the dopamine neurotransmitters. (Serotonin and dopamine are our feel-good neurotransmitters.) Unlike originally thought, neurotransmitters are not produced in the brain; they are made in the gut. Damage to our gut health and lining is commonly associated with depression and anxiety.   The good news is there are ways to support your mental health and gut health to help with symptoms of depression.

Ways to support your gut health with food to feel good: • Do your best to stick with whole foods that are organic and minimally processed.  (Avoid: processed sugars, artificial sweeteners, refined carbs, and processed foods like chips) • Opt for more plant-based foods that include a wide variety of sprouted whole grains, fruit and vegetables, legumes, nut and seeds. • Balance blood sugars to help balance mood. Eat a combination of fats, carbs and proteins together and meals that are high in complex carbohydrates and fibre. Avoid high sugar snacks that can spike blood sugar levels.  • Add in fermented foods such as kombucha, cultured vegetables, miso, cultured yogurt, and kefir.  Do this slowly as your body gets used to new beneficial bacteria. 

Other to support your mental and gut health: • Talk to a professional- while supporting your body, make sure you are also supporting your mind. Emotional Freedom Technique, The LifeLine Technique, and Body Talk Therapy are all subconscious techniques that I have used personally to help with my past symptoms of depression. • Get outdoors- getting out in nature for a walk can boost your mood and help support your gut with beneficial microbes. Hugging a tree can help right now when we are distant from others.  • Look into supplementation- Probiotics have shown to have a positive effect on depression through supporting gut health. Omega-3 fatty acids have also been shown to be helpful with depression. Seek a nutritionist or naturopath to help you choose the right supplements for you. 

Blueberry Brain and Gut Boosting Smoothie

Ingredients • 2 cups frozen blueberries (rich in fiber for gut health) • 1 cup coconut or yogurt or coconut kefir (probiotics for gut health) • 2 small bananas (prebiotics for gut health) • 2 tbsps ground flax seeds (rich in omega 3 for brain health) • 2 tbsp hemp seeds (rich in protein and fat for blood sugar stabilization) • 2 cup almond milk or another milk • 1 handful spinach

Directions Throw all ingredients into a blender blend until smooth. If too thick, add some more almond milk. Drink with love and appreciation for your body.

CRYSTAL HUGHES is a plant-based lifestyle expert and the creator of HeartFully Nourished, a blog filled with healthy nourishing plant-based recipes and wellness articles. Crystal is a registered holistic nutritionist with a passion for helping people live a fully nourished life. She is a professional food photographer, and her work has been featured in international magazines.  HEARTFULLYNOURISHED.COM  CRYSTALHUGHES




Kimberley Esguerra Topa

Lupus warrior, Kimberley Esguerra Topa shares the story of her struggles and how, through intentional living, she hopes to make her mark in the fight against the disease. Can you tell us more about your story, including your journey with lupus? Growing up, I was highly competitive and ambitious, so it was a huge setback when I was diagnosed with lupus. Lupus is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the tissues and organs. For me, lupus caused quite a few issues, but I’ll just fill you in on the most severe one, which was chronic kidney disease. Lupus attacked my kidneys from the get-go, but in 2010 things took a turn for the worst, and I experienced kidney failure. I went on dialysis, had chemotherapy, was bed-ridden, and even had to go to rehab to learn how to walk again. Then, thankfully in 2015, I was blessed with a kidney transplant. I have my selfless and generous cousin, Sean, to thank for that. Having the kidney transplant gave me a second chance at living a more normal life. What does “intentional living” mean to you? Intentional living is relatively new to me. I love and appreciate the approach that it takes when dealing with our everyday lives. Rather than going through the motions, I seek to be more mindful of the decisions I make, which will be more beneficial in the long-term. I’m finding it very helpful, and I’m grateful that it’s encouraged me to slow down from the fast-paced life that I was living and just enjoy things. It’s also allowed me to take better care of myself by giving me more self-awareness. What motivates you to share what you do on Instagram? I love to meet new people and learn from others. Instagram is a platform that allows us to do this, so when I started sharing my health and wellness journey and realized that I could learn and inspire at the same time, I found my voice. We all have our unique stories, and my goal is to share mine to motivate and comfort people like me. It can be challenging to live with a chronic condition, but I find it helps to hear and learn from people going through the same thing. What could any woman do to improve her health immediately? Women are wonderfully and beautifully made, yet our minds and bodies can be so complex, which is why we need to take care of our health. One vital thing that we women can do to improve our health immediately is to take the time to nurture our minds, bodies, and souls. We must learn to love ourselves and all that we are; it’s helpful to have a good laugh or cry


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session with a loved one or friend; we must drink enough water and eat healthy foods. We must take the right supplements, stay active, and get outside every day, and we must set aside quality time to feed our souls. These are just some of the immediate solutions available to us, but it’s ultimately up to us to find what works best for our lives and what keeps us healthy. How can a person living with a chronic condition support themselves to live their happiest, healthiest life? First and foremost, I think it’s important to accept your circumstances thoroughly. It’s taken me a while to come to better terms with my illness, and I’m still working on this until today. One area I have difficulties with is saying, “no.” We often feel like we need to overcompensate for our illness, so we end up saying “yes” to everything, even if that means we’re overextending ourselves. I find that living with intention, seeing a therapist, and having a sound support system help. I’m incredibly grateful for my mom and family, who’ve taught me how to be strong and independent and for my husband, Nuno and fur baby, Coby, for always taking care of me. They genuinely motivate and encourage me to live my best life. Lastly, we need to honour and listen to our bodies and minds by exercising when we can, practicing deep breathing, and resting when we need to. Once you’ve seen those things that cater to your well-being, only then will you be able to live a happy and healthy life.


Making healthy choices for you and your family can be difficult. With a multitude of products and labels , at your fingertips, how do you know that what you re choosing is good for your health and the planet? Organic agriculture is built on four main principles: Health, Ecology, Care, and Fairness. Choosing organic food and products helps produce healthy food for all.



Here are five reasons to make the change and start choosing organic!

keep GMOs 1 Organics out of our food.

Genetically engineered products (GMOs) are prohibited in organic production because they are dangerous effects to our health. Some consequences of using GMOs in agricultural production include altering the DNA of the soil and plants, wiping out beneficial crops, and causing harm to insects and pollinators. Organic agriculture prevents all of this, reducing the risk of decreased biodiversity!

support a healthier farm lifestyle and a healthier community. 2 Organics

Farm workers deserve to be protected from chemical spray, as do the animals and surrounding wildlife. There are many health benefits that come with choosing organic, including safer pregnancies and child health, as organic avoids prohibits the use of pesticides, GMOs, and the routine use of antibiotics and growth hormones in livestockanimals!

Organic food avoids pesticide exposure 3 from staying in your body.

A European study that received widespread media attention showcased a family who never ate organic food, testing the pesticide residues in their urine at the beginning of the study. The urine samples contained multiple harmful pesticides in each of their bodies. After switching to an organic diet for a two-week period, the families took another urine test and the results showed that all of the pesticide levels lowered drastically or disappeared entirely!

mitigates climate change! 4 Organics

That’s right, you read that correctly! Since organics make soil health a priority, farmers produce cover crops to add more nitrogen into their soils, rotate their crops in order to avoid soil erosion, sequester more carbon, use less energy-intensive inputs and release fewer carbon emissions. Studies have also shown that organic agriculture results in less water pollution! Common organic production methods such as foraging green legumes and using green manures reduces run-off, resulting in cleaner water.

5 Promotes biodiversity.

Organic farming supports biodiversity! Having a mix of animals, plants, microorganisms, and pollinators allows for healthy soil and a strong agricultural system that is able to naturally prevent pests. By ensuring there are no synthetic chemicals used, plants, animals, and insects can flourish in organic agriculture and result in a biodiverse system.

Choosing organic helps protect the earth by caring for the soil, water, and air, as well as the growers, consumers, and wildlife that are part of the organic ecosphere. Make the change today— after all, you are what you eat!

If you are interested in learning more about and how to support organic, participate in our 21 days to organic monthly themed packs! These packs include a variety of organic products and an educational brochure about the benefits of organic shipped to your door for only $15 CAD (plus tax). CANADA - ORGANIC.CA

Profile for Vista Magazine

Vista Magazine Issue #135 March/April 2021 The Women’s Health Issue  

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