Back to Basics Challenge Week 2: Hydrate for Lasting Change


Vavavoom. Rejuvenate. Heal.

Last week was all about sleeping at the right time for the biggest bang of your snooze time. The results of sleeping by 10 pm have proven to me that the effort in building this habit is worth it. This week, I have been waking up more refreshed, my productivity has increased, and I feel good. I know that is just the beginning and that over time, my health will improve even more from deeper and more rejuvenating sleep. This week, it is time to add in the second habit that is free and fast for health and longevity: Hydration.

Drinking water is such a simple addition but, sometimes, it can feel like all you do is drink water, go to the bathroom, drink more water, go to the bathroom, and on and on the cycle goes. You might ask: Why bother? Here is a short list of many more examples of what hydration can do for you:

  • Relieve headaches
  • Relieve aches and pains in the body
  • Soften your skin
  • Reduce overall body puffiness (face, eyes, etc)
  • Prevent kidney stones
  • Flush out toxins
  • Support your detoxifying organs like your liver, kidneys, bladder, and skin
  • Rejuvenate your body
  • Bring out the youthfulness in your body
  • Support your brain function (have you ever noticed that when you are studying or doing intense mental activity, you need more water?)

Even from that short list, you can see how drinking water can up your game. Just like it is with sleep, how much water you drink and when you drink it can really impact the benefits. Lets look at the numbers when it comes to staying hydrated. Because we are made up more of water than anything else, it is essential to drink an optimum amount of water. Just to keep your body running properly, you need a minmum of 2 Litres a day. However, if you are already deeply hydrated, active, or feeling thirsty, 3-4 litres of water a day will get you off to a really good start. Check out this amazing transformation that this one writer went through by drinking 3 litres of water a day for four weeks: How Drinking 3 Liters of Water a day took 10 Years off my face by Sarah Smith

Back to Basics Challenge Week 2: Drink 3 litres of water a day

In the beginning, it may feel like all you do is go to the bathroom because your body is so excited to have the resources to do its job of flushing out gunk. Don’t fret too much. After awhile, your body will adjust to the water consumption and level out on the cleansing.

Best times to drink water:

  • First thing when you wake up, drink 2 glasses of water (optional: with lemon) to get all of your organs fired up and running for the day
  • 30 mins before meals because if you drink water too close to meal times, you can muck up your digestion. The water can dilute your digestive juices that breakdown food. So timing is important.
  • Stop drinking ample amounts of water a few hours before bed to prevent frequent night time trips to the washroom.
  • Drink water instead of snacking. Sometimes when your mind is craving a munchie, you are actually needing water. Use your discretion with this tip. Drink water first. If you are still hungry, grab a healthy snack.

Type of Water:

This is a hot topic because some people are adamant about only drinking tap water or only drinking bottled water or only drinking fresh spring water that you have sourced from a local spring. Regardless of what camp you are in, drinking water is essential. Pick your source and go for it. Some things to consider when choosing your source of water:

  • Make sure it is clean
  • The more alkaline that your water is the better because, for the most part, we are too acidic. This is a topic that we will dive into later on.
  • Make sure that the extra chemicals, bacteria, parasites and the like have been filtered out.

There are different ways to ensure these elements are being met. You can have an awesome gravity fed filtration system in your home that in the long run would be more cost effective then buying bottled water. Personally, I have a Santevia counter top water system. I fill up mason jars in the morning and carry them with me. Sometimes, people think I am drinking Moon Shine. It makes for a fun conversation.  If you are in a city with an excellent water system, you may be safe to go with tap water. Don’t stress to much about it because that defeats the purpose of the back to basics program.

Give your water some vavavoom:

  • Add sliced lemons! This will add flavour but, also, energize and alkanize your body.
  • You can spruce your water up with different fruits and herbs to create  your own “vitamin” waters. My favourite combo: Fresh mint leaves and lime wedges.

There is no replacement for water. Your teas and coffees do not count for your 3 liters a day because they do not have the same effect on your body.

Time to get hydrated!

Cheers, LR

PS: Follow the blog to get updates on the Back to Basics Challenge and leave a comment below to let me know how you are getting on with the challenge. Your tips and feedback are welcome!


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Back to Basics Challenge Week 1: Pillow Talk

beautiful girl sleeps in the bedroom

Sleep. Sexy. Rejuvenate.

O my gosh! I am so excited to launch the Back to Basics: Health on a Budget Challenge today! ❤ ❤ ❤

Today, we are going to get down and dirty with some pillow talk about the easiest and quickest way towards optimal health: Sleep. It is a luxury and a necessity for longevity, healing, and productivity. You might be thinking, “What? I signed up for a health challenge and…we are talking about sleep!!?” Read through to the end, my friend, and you will see why this activity is the first habit that we are nuzzling up to for life.

For some of you this will be review, but let’s all get on the same program. When we were wee ones, our mamas and papas would get us in bed no later than 9 pm every night. If you were like me, you would fight this bed time curfew. I still fight going to bed now that I am an adult. Here is the thing though, our parents had it right. A consistent theme in health books on detoxing and healing across cultures is the thought that our immune systems does is self-cleaning and self-repair between the hours of 10 pm – 12 am. The trick behind accessing this awesome self-care activity is to be asleep during those hours. The flip side is that if you are not asleep during these hours night after night, your immune system won’t get to take care of business. This can lead to avoidable health problems. In the article, Sleep and Longevity, Dr. Kulrheet Chaudhary makes a fantastic observation with the statement: “Timing your sleep is like timing an investment in the stock market – it doesn’t matter how much you invest, it matters when you invest.” Dr. Chaudhary says that the deepest and most regenerative time to sleep is between 10 pm to 2 am. Any sleep after that time will be light and superficial. Holla! I can attest to these ideas. I know that when I go to bed after 2 or 3 in the morning, it doesn’t matter how much I sleep, it doesn’t cut it for me.

Beyond the immune system, another key component to sleeping at the right time is you get to maximize your melatonin activity. Melatonin is lovingly knows as the hormone that makes you sleepy. Another side to melatonin is that is a mega antioxidant that helps your body rid of free radicals during your sleep. Your body naturally produces melatonin when your body and eyes register that the sun has set and darkness is taking over the night. You can also help the process by taking high quality melatonin supplements in the evening. Be sure to take good ones and follow the instructions properly. They are a good aid to help you get back into a natural rhythm of sleeping at the right time.


– 10 pm – 2 am give you the deepest and most regenerative sleep. Also, your immune system gets to clean house! It is called Beauty Rest for a reason. Plus, you will get more out of your learning and work outs when you get proper sleep.

– Melatonin helps you get to sleep and is a powerful antioxidant.

This week’s Back to Basics Challenge: Asleep by 10 pm

It is so simple but it can be a challenge because you think that you can get everything done before bed, but, truly ask yourself: “How productive am I after 9 pm?” More often than not, social media, tv, and the like are fighting for our attention at that time of night. Your beauty rest and your health takes priority. It really does in the grand trajectory of your life.

To help you get to sleep more easily, find ways to wind down:

  • Through meditation, deep breathing, and some stretching. This activities help you to relax and feel more connected to your body.
  • Have a policy for yourself that technology is off by 9 pm. The light from those screens are stimulating and will stop your melatonin production.
  • One of the readers, Arlene, suggested that it awesome to remove as much gadgets from your room as possible to reduce the light. And, when traveling, a sleeping mask can go a long way in helping to get that black out your body needs to produce melatonin. What an awesome tip!
  • You can start slow, too. Move your bed time up at a regular interval over the next few weeks till you reach your goal.

I am not saying that you have to do this everyday of your life, but, I am saying that being asleep by 10 pm is a necessary habit that we should exercise consistently. The late night outs and the all nighters need to be an exception in your life rather than a common occurrence. This has been a challenge my whole life but I am really excited about waking up feeling rejuvenated and ready to take on the day. The idea that my work outs and my eating habits will pay off even more just by giving into sleep is titillating.

Are you with me? Let’s make sleeping at the right time a life long love affair for our health and beauty! Sleep is the foundation that we will build a temple of health upon.

You can do it!! Share with me in the comments how you get to sleep on time? What are your tips and routines?

You can also share on our Facebook community: Health on a Budget




Filed under action steps, detox, Getting Healthy on a Budget, healing

Vegan and Gluten Free: Banana Blueberry (Quinoa & Coconut) Muffin Squares

Banana Blueberry Muffin Squares (Gluten Free Vegan) (Coconut and QuinoaMoist. Delicious. Healthy

Since, the discovery that baking with quinoa is possible and tastes good, I am doubly excited when there is left over cooked quinoa in the fridge. Another killer combo in my mind is the marriage of banana and blueberry. LOVE in my mouth. Hence, when it looked like I had the ingredients in the kitchen to make Banana Blueberry muffins today, I jumped on the moment to create a healthy yet tasty snack that is good for lunches, afternoon pick me ups, or just a fun indulgence. Also, the main sugar that I used is low-glycemic!

It is so easy to make!


1 cup of coconut flour (or almond meal)

1 cup of cooked quinoa

4 ripe bananas

1 cup of blueberries (mine were frozen)

1 cup of coconut milk or other non-dairy milk

1/2 cup of coconut sugar

6 tbsp of ground flax seed (important ingredient! Flax is the egg replacement)

2 tbsp of coconut oil

1 tsp of baking soda

1 tsp of cinnamon

1/2 tsp of ground vanilla bean powder (you could use vanilla extract)

pinch of salt


Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a food processor, I blended all of the ingredients except blueberries till smooth. After wards, I mixed in the blueberries into the batter with a spoon.

Lightly oil your muffin tins or use liners. I used a large baking sheet because I don’t have muffin tins and cut the “cake” up into squares. Pour your batter in to your chosen vessel.

Optional: Top with sliced bananas and sprinkling of coconut sugar.

Bake in the oven for 30 mins or till golden brown.

Enjoy the delicious scent that will fill up your kitchen and tastiness in you mouth! Share with your loved ones. They will be surprised by the healthy yumminess!



PS: I am starting a Back to Basics: Health on a Budget Challenge next week. Look at my last post for details 🙂

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Back to Basics: Health on a Budget Challenge

Back to Basics: Health on a Budget

MEEP MEEP! So excited to share with all of you a series of posts that will be under the spotlight for the next while. Last night, I was really inspired to create a blog series about getting healthy on a budget. This is a subject that is very real and dear to me because I can whole hardheartedly empathize with people that face the vicious cycle of getting sick that causes you not to work that causes you to stress about not making money that then causes you get more sick but then you don’t have enough money to do all the trendy or must-do health things to get you back to work again. AAAH! A vicious beast.

Health and money are lovers that impact each other deeply but your health is the foundation of it all. Your health is the spring board to the rest of your desires and dreams.

Lets get back to the basics! What can you do now to improve your health? I am going to challenge myself and others to add new habits every week that are simple but effective to improving your overall health.

Follow this blog to get updates on the challenge by clicking the follow button on the right the page.

Get involved and with a community of people participating in the challenge series on Facebook: Health on a Budget Community

Share your pics on social media with the hashtag: #backtobasics

I am so excited to get this started!

We will launch the first challenge Monday March 10, 2014!

Getting back to the basics,


PS: I am creating this challenge just as much for me as it is for you. It is not a straight climb to the top. And, this challenge will get me back where I need to be, too. Let’s do this together 🙂


Filed under action steps, Getting Healthy on a Budget

What’s up with Love?: Celebrate. Crave. Create.


Celebrate. Crave. Create.

My friends, what’s up with Love? I have been thinking about this topic a lot lately because I bear witness to situations of love that confound me, my friends live out moments that look like something from a twisted romantic comedy, and it is a topic of conversation more often than not. There are books, webinars, movies, soap-box preachers, and more out there that give us rules and guidelines to bait and snag the ubiquitous royal to reign our hearts. Sometimes, the theories are coming from a place of science, sometimes the ideas are coming from a place that is more spiritual, and, sometimes, it is practical experience that people draw from to give advice. In the whirlwind of all of this information, how do we find clarity?

My one friend has tried many techniques that are common and not so common: Wait 90 days before you sleep with him because he will be hooked by then and respect you more. Don’t have sex on the first date. Keep him wanting by not responding to texts and phone calls right away. Tell him how you feel. Don’t tell him how you feel. Sleep with him when you feel like you trust him. The list goes on and on. And, one guy after another is proving to her and (through observation) to me that there are no rules.

Love is irrational. Love is emotional. Yes, you can love someone’s mind but the experience can compel irrational actions. These actions can be grand and create astoundingly beautiful things like art, words, music, and profound moments that delight the world over or just a single private audience. Actions from the other end of the spectrum can be born, too. If love is irrational, it can not be founded on reason or logic. If this is to be true, how can there be techniques to bait and hook your beloved?

I am no expert. But, I will say that I don’t think there are common rules that works for everyone when it comes to love. There is freedom in the chaos of love. All you can do is be yourself and let it all be. Decide for yourself what you want in your life and create your own terms. Do what makes your heart sings regardless of what societal terms dictate. There will be a person out there that will celebrate your authentic ways and accepts your terms in life. Along the way, some people will break your trust, make you cry, inspire you to dream, and make you believe in magic. All of these moments will make sense in their purpose in your life journey. The painful ones will underscore the moments of wonder and joy. I definitely appreciate my love and the little things that he does more because of the moments of lack in my past.

Go out and recklessly abandon preconceived notions of what you should do in love. Rather embrace what you truly crave for your life and live inspired by your authentic desires. You can not lose when you respect yourself and live with integrity. I offer that when you dive in the pool of your own true identity and celebrate you, the rest of the world is invited to do the same.

Love life and Live it!!



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Homemade with a Juicer: Raw Almond Milk

Homemade using a Juicer: Raw Almond MilkI love making milk at home because it is easy and I know exactly what is in it! Have you looked at the ingredient list of store made almond milk? Too many! Plus, at home, we fly through almond milk that we don’t need the extra preservatives. You can take the following recipe and build on it by making different flavours. My favourite addition is ground vanilla bean.

What you need:

1 cup of soaked almonds

3 cups of filtered water

Take these two ingredients and run it through your juicer! Tah-dah! Simple and fast. I have a Hurom Slow Juicer but I imagine that most juicers will do the trick. Check your manual guide to see if you can use your juicer for making milk. If you don’t have a juicer, you can use your blender. Blend the ingredients till you have a milk consistency then strain you product. Bam! You are done.

If you like it sweet, you can add stevia, maple syrup, blended dates, honey, or coconut sugar.

Also, you can keep the pulp to make almond meal. I use almond meal to make the topping on apple crisp or as a breading replacement to make gluten free food.


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Raw and Vegan: Vegetable Tempura

frankly raw's vegetable tempura

Vegetable Tempura at a sushi place is a sinful indulgence that delights my taste buds. However, on the journey of optimal health, dipping into deep fried veggies is not the wisest action. On the days, I am looking to make better choices and to trick my family and friends into eating healthy, raw and vegan vegetable tempura makes a splash at my table. You have got to try this tasty and crispy dish. Be prepared to be sinfully happy!

First  you need to grab vegetables that you want to nom nom nom nom nom. I like onions, broccoli, and cauliflower for this recipe but you can try most veggies. Get them chopped and pretty for their batter bath.

For the batter, blend the following ingredients until you achieve a smooth consistency:

1 cup of soaked sunflower seeds

1 clove of garlic (more if you love garlic!!)

2 tbsp of nutritional yeast

pinch of oregano

pinch of cayanne

squeeze of lemon

pinch of Himalayan sea salt

Taste the batter and add more of any ingredient as you need to make your taste buds happy.

In a bowl, mix the veggies with batter until the veggies are totally coated. Spread the veggies evenly on a dehydrator tray. Set your dehydrator tray to 105 degrees and leave your tempura veggies for about 12 hours or until you have achieved a crispy outside and a softened veggie. You can also use your oven at a higher temperature for a shorter time. The enzymes may not survive but it will taste awesome.





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