.It is OK to not be Ok.

Another lockdown. New rules and regulations and nobody knows what is really going on anymore. Vaccination will be mandatory? Am I still able to decide what is going into my body? I guess not because new rules will be implemented this week. Or next week. Are you depressed? For me, some days are okay and some are super horrible. Today, I will write about how I pull through this madness with humor. Maybe you will find something that works for you as well. If not, see you in the mental institution. I am the one wearing a baseball hat that is mandatory to wear in there.

  1. The new OMICRON mutation is actually a toy transformer my son has under his bed. I wonder what the “experts” will come up with once they run out of letter of the greek alphabet? They could name the spring 2022 mutation Xi-mutation but it would be kinda weird because that is the name of the Chinese President (Xi Jinping – all the things you learn here, right?!). Well, in any case, we still have some letters left, don’t we!? Also, the next mutation will be from Greece. It’s name will be Feta (just like the cheese but that is just a coincidence).
  2. Covid-19 and the related lockdowns and all the new mutations have been hard on all of us. I want you to know, it is OK to not be OK.
  3. If you need to work through your lunch hour, that’s OK.Be glad that you still have a job. In these unprecedented times, your energy levels can really fluctuate, and sometimes you are just more productive if you work straight through lunch and don’t take any breaks. Just remember that it’s OK. I guess, also if you have two 30-minute breaks. If you eat your food like a snake, by detaching your jaw and swallowing your food whole without chewing it. Also, this way, food takes 3-5 days to digest. No need to eat at all for days. Again, be glad to still have a job in these crazy times.
  4. It’s OK not to schedule any vacation. It can be hard to imagine yourself going on vacation right now with all the travel restrictions, and I don’t want you to feel pressured. If you would feel more comfortable staying in town and working, that’s OK.
  5. It’s OK to have trouble sleeping. We’re currently experiencing a great deal of anxiety as a culture, so if you’re finding you’re having trouble sleeping, that’s OK.
  6. If you’d rather knock out a meeting/training instead of eating dinner, that’s OK. The new flexibility that some experience while being in “home office” lets us structure our workday however we like, and if you’d rather conduct a meeting than eat dinner, that’s OK. Or clean your house and your kid’s bedroom.
  7. If you ever need to skip therapy because of work, it’s OK. Sometimes, it’s better to just take a step back and let your mind focus on something else, like telling people to take off their watch and belt, and that’s OK.
  8. If you feel like not going to the gym on the weekend and just taking it easy on a conference call on your couch on Sunday afternoon instead, that’s OK. You will be fine. But hey, many can work from home (just not you) which offers that flexibility, and if you want to use that flexibility to take it easy and sit on a three-hour call instead of going to a workout class you had to book six days in advance because everything is at fifty percent capacity, that’s OK! Oh, I forgot, everything is closed because the lockdown has even been extended until 2023. It’s OK to do nothing.
  9. The state of the world right now can be overwhelming, and if you just feel like lying around and doing nothing after you’ve completed all your work and the work of all your former co-workers that resigned, that’s one thousand percent OK.
  10. It’s OK to feel too exhausted to think about the future. Things like planning social events with friends, looking for other employment, etc., can be a huge mental drain that, quite frankly, you don’t need right now. If you feel too exhausted to do anything other than just work, we just want you to know that is totally OK.
  11. It is OK to cry. It is OK to be mad and be miserable. But let it all go, too. I believe there is something good in all this. And even if it is the realization that we do not need most of the things we do and consume and that it is important to get back to the basics. Things that really matter. For me, it is love, silence, family, and to make it as comfortable as possible these days. It is cold outside, my friends. Cuddle up inside. We will get through this lockdown as we did with all the other ones. We are kind of used to it by now, no?! Everything will be okay in the end. We just have to be patient, calm, and strong. Again, just focus on the basics. What do we really need?

. Magnesium 101.

You may have heard of magnesium before, but what exactly is it? Is it something you should get more of in your diet? What about supplementation? In today’s post, I am going to share with you what magnesium is, the benefits, signs of deficiency, and my personal experience with it.

What is magnesium?

Magnesium is a mineral with many functions in the body. It helps support heart health, nerve and muscle function and healthy bones. Over 300 enzymes use magnesium for a variety of essential processes in the body every single day. Needless to say, it’s an important one!

Magnesium is found naturally in many foods but can also be taken as a supplement or topically as creams and gels for muscle relaxation. The amount of magnesium that you need per day depends on your age, sex, and life stage you’re at, such as pregnancy. But generally about 300-400mg/day is the recommended amount. Others may require more if there are any issues with digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Food Sources of Magnesium

Magnesium is found naturally in many foods:

  • nuts and seeds like pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, almonds and sunflower seeds
  • dark leafy greens like spinach and Swiss chard
  • whole grains
  • legumes like black eyed peas and edamame
  • potatoes with the skin on
  • and even dark chocolate!

Magnesium Deficiency

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to be low in this vital nutrient due to diets that lack magnesium-rich plant foods. Additionally, high consumption of alcohol, coffee, phosphoric acid found in sodas, salt, and even stress can deplete this mineral in our body. Those with digestive disorders, diabetes, athletes and older adults may be at higher risk of magnesium deficiency.

Possible signs of magnesium deficiency can include:

  • muscle cramps, pain, or spasms
  • joint pain
  • headaches or migraines
  • insomnia
  • anxiety
  • hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • depression
  • constipation
  • hypothyroidism

Benefits of Magnesium

Heart health: magnesium promotes healthy blood pressure. Those with hypertension and even arrhythmias can benefit from getting optimal amounts of magnesium in their diet.

Bone health: we all know calcium is needed for healthy bones, but not just calcium alone. We need a dance of calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and other minerals to support bone health. Up to 60% of magnesium is stored in our bones. If you’re at risk for low bone density, you’ll want to pay attention to your magnesium and overall mineral intake.

Muscle relaxation: Magnesium is best known for having muscle relaxing properties, making it useful for things like cramps (including period cramps), spasms, or restless legs. Since cramps can be a sign of deficiency in some cases, increasing your intake of this mineral can make a difference in the muscle pain you experience.

Sleep: Magnesium is great for aiding sleep because of its calming and relaxing properties. Many people find that increasing their intake of magnesium helps improve sleep quality and quantity. This may be due to the way that magnesium mitigates stress and anxiety. Try an Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) bath in the evening to help with a good night’s sleep. Not only with the warm water relax your body, but the addition of magnesium may help, too.

Constipation: Magnesium in the form of a citrate supplement helps draw water into the bowels and soften stool which can relieve constipation.

PMS: Premenstrual syndrome involves a variety of uncomfortable symptoms in the days leading up to your period, like cramps and breast tenderness. Magnesium plays a key role in relaxing muscles and also reducing inflammation, which is why it can be massively helpful for those who suffer from PMS. I have personally found magnesium to make drastic improvements in my PMS symptoms.

Migraines: Like most health issues, migraines are multifactorial but low levels of magnesium can play a role. Stress and dehydration can also play a role here, but upping your dietary intake of magnesium may be helpful for you if you suffer from migraines.

How to get more Magnesium + should you take a supplement?

Food should be the primary focus when it comes to obtaining adequate nutrition. You can start increasing your magnesium intake naturally by…

  • adding more legumes to your diet through salads, soups, or stews
  • adding nuts to baked goods, as a snack (like trail mix), or onto oatmeal or granola
  • enjoying a spoonful of nut butter, like almond or cashew, with fruit, toast, or in smoothies
  • eating more leafy greens.
  • choose whole grains products instead of white

To fill in the gaps or for those who need higher amounts of a specific nutrient, supplementation can be helpful. Speak to your doctor if you have any questions about taking a new supplement.

My Experience

I am very happy with PURE Magnesiumglycinat and take up to two pills every second day and I feel that my overall levels of magnesium have improved.

Please keep in mind that this is my unique anecdotal experience which means that it’s based on personal accounts and not part of any sort of rigorous scientific study. Everybody’s needs are very different. Always speak to your doctor if you have any concerns about any symptoms you are experiencing.

.Virus Alert.

There are people and there are people when it comes to getting a cold. Some are toughening it out. Some take a cold like a pro. Some cry in the corner if they have a mild flu. Some act like they have Ebola. Usually, and B.C. (before Corona), when I had a cold, I would bring my son to school, go to work, avoid close contact with colleagues, take tons of Vitamin C, B, D, do laundry, go shopping, meal-prep for the next few days, and prepare dinner. For some reason, things just kept going and I was usually fine after one day of rest thanks to my amazing immune system.

I would also lay in bed and rest for a couple of hours when I really feel horrible but this rarely happened (knock on wood). So, that time, last year in November, I caught a cold like never before. And guess what? It was NOT Covid. I got Covid in April and it felt like a cold with a bit more coughing (glad I quit smoking). But this monster of a cold hit me right after I came back from visiting my parents in Germany. And it knocked me off my feet. It was a cold mixed with hilarious amounts of please-take-care-of-me-and-feel-so-sorry-for-me dramatics. I needed constant attention and care, I was vocal about my concerns about not pulling through, and any ache or pain was a reason to stay in bed. Does this sound familiar? Below are my stages through the worst cold I have ever had. Obviously, with a grain of sarcasm, irony, and exaggeration because this is just me.

  • The pain was unbearable. I talk about sore muscles! You could never imagine the way MY MUSCLES ACHE! Nobody’s muscles EVER ached that way!
  • The Dramatic Moans Begin. You can hear me loud and clear from the other side of the house. The moans, groans, and whining are a symphony of drama.
  • I Swear that I am Burning Up. If I had to check if I have a fever one more time, I might go insane.
  • My Speaking Ability Gets Compromised. The raspy voice set in early on and progressed rapidly. Thankfully, someone loved me and made lemon/ginger/honey tea.
  • The Nose Gets Extra Sensitive. All that nose blowing sure irritated my delicate skin even though I had a year-supply on soft tissues. Try to find the ones with moisturising lotion or my nose might just fall off! Get those stupid soft tissues in a huge bulk.
  • The Demands Multiply. Sick me is massively needy. I couldn’t reach the remote that was one meter away from me, and I did decide I want that homemade chicken soup after my friend had finally sat down on the couch. Don’t you dare give me a bell to ring, because I will sure overuse it!
  • At the Pharmacy. Pharmacy list that someone needed to get for me: Cough drops, daytime and nighttime cold medicine, tea, anything and everything herbal, and nose spray. Actually, everything they sell in there. Just in case.
  • Paralysis May Set In. At some point, muscle aches may turn to paralysis. I said, “Ugh, I can’t move!” It took me forever to get my blood flowing by walking from the couch to the bed.
  • I Insisted that I am Dying. As if the dramatisation hasn’t been enough at this point, at the height of the cold, I swore I am dying. But I was surprised how quickly I came back to life when my friend said he will meet me for a kitchen session and the white wine is chilled.

This is the time when we all should take extra care of ourselves. Curl and cosy up inside, drink tea, eat warm soups, read, watch good movies, and light a candle while the snow begins to fall down silently covering the world in white.

Stay healthy, peepz.

.How to: Intermittent Fasting.

These days, word is slowly spreading around that I am “into food and healthy stuff”. So, as announced last week, I will post weekly health articles on Wednesdays. I received some article requests recently about intermitted fasting and if it is possible to write an article about it. Here it is. 😀

Everybody talks about intermittent fasting these days and it grows rapidly in popularity. What is intermittent fasting and how do you do it? Are there benefits and who should avoid it? Interested? Read on. 

What is intermittent fasting?

In a nutshell, you basically eat the same amount of food that you usually do but during a shorter period of time. The term fasting refers to any period of time when you do not eat food. Actually, we fast every night when we sleep. It is important when we eat. Because everything is available 24/7, we can get in this habit of constantly eating all around the clock, especially late in the evening/night. What uncontrolled eating does is, for example, it creates appetite irregularities and up-and-down blood sugar patterns which can also negatively impact sleep. 

Three types of fasting methods. 

Eat-Stop-Eat (“5:2”). This type of intermittent fasting means you eat in your usual manner for five days of the week and either restrict food intake on 2 non-consecutive days (for example Tuesday and Thursday) or fast altogether on those days (no food for 24 hours). Personally, I find this method quite restrictive and have not tried it myself but heard of some people who love it. 

16:8/18:6. These are just different options for lengthier fasts that involve no food intake for 16-18 hours and eating over a span of 6-8 hours. 

Time-Restricted Eating (TRE). This type of fasting is based on the science of the circadian (natural) rhythms and means that we eat during the day and stop eating at night. With TRE you want to focus on an eating window of 10-12 hours and fast for 12-14 hours. 

Some important Benefits

  1. Intermittent Fasting supports cardiovascular health. It can help to reduce cholesterol, especially low-density lipoprotein (LDL aka the “bad one”) 
  2. Autophagy. Auto-what? Autophagy is basically a cellular cleansing process that occurs when cells have insufficient sugar. It causes them to start breaking down their own damaged, old or diseased cell fragments to create new energy and also newly regenerated cells. Pretty neat, huh! Usually, this occurs in longer fasts but we also experience it a bit during overnight fasts of 12-13 hours. Of course, we do not want autophagy to occur all the time because that would mean we are starving. 
  3. Better gut health & Inflammation. We usually do not feel like eating when we are sick. This is a natural reaction and signal the body sends out asking for a break. Intermittent fasting can lower inflammationwhich means less disease, better immune function, and a healthier body overall. Since fasting helps reduce inflammation and reboots immune function it can be beneficial for autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s. Of course, always speak to your doctor if you have concerns. 
  4. Improved Blood Sugar Balance. Let’s dig out my Biochemistry book: Whenever we eat, the sugars from food signal the pancreas to produce insulin to rush it into the cells. The liver then stores fatty acids in fat cells and converts sugar to glycogen. Do you still follow? Now the body has stored all the sugars and fats from the meal and insulin and blood sugar drop. The pancreas secretes a hormone called glucagon to signal the liver to convert stored glycogen back into sugar to release it into the bloodstream to balance blood sugar. This “storage” and “burning” mode usually happens cyclically all day long and the body uses remaining stores when we sleep at night. Problems may occur when we constantly or irregularly eat all day, especially high sugar and fatty food. Then the body is stuck in “storage mode” and too much insulin is secreted all the time which can lead to insulin resistance or low/high blood sugar. Intermittent fasting is a great way to improve insulin resistance, fatty liver, and conditions associated with blood sugar regularities. 
  5. Weight loss. Intermittent fasting can aid weight loss because the body is allowed to exit “storage mode” and burn internal resources instead. It is also great to regulate appetite because it balances satiety hormones (ghrelin and leptin) and hunger. 

Who should avoid (intermittent) fasting? 

  • Those who try to get pregnant, are pregnant or breastfeeding moms 
  • Anybody dealing with extreme stress (any extended fasts (14+ hours) are stressful for the body because the body will perceive those fasts as periods of famine) 
  • Diabetics. They should consult a doctor first. 
  • Anybody with a history of eating disorders. Always make sure you consult a doctor before exploring with fasting and diets on your own. 
  • Anybody who is new to intermittent fasting should aim for 12-13 hours. 

I experiment with intermittent fasting for about one year now and I respond really well to it. I usually follow an 11 am-7 pm eating – 7 pm – 11 am fasting rhythm, usually 3 days a week but of course, there are exceptions because this is life. 

There is also a great app that you can download that allows tracking fasting/eating windows. 

Have you ever tried intermittent fasting? Please share your experience and leave questions and comments below.

.Be my K1 or The PCR Test.

Just an angry bird.

Hey my friend. Why do you look so frustrated? Oh, it is the pandemic and the dumb new rules. Do not beat yourself up about this. It is totally okay that you snoozed your alarm and slept past 10 am on a Friday. You still did not receive that negative PRC test that is able to reduce your ten! day quarantine to five. Rules over new rules that make absolutely no sense anymore. Lockdown for the unvaccinated, lockdown for everyone, PCR tests for those with a pirate eye patch but they have to wear a blue sweater. In addition, these people have to have one arm on the left side.

Not only is it okay but it is probably for the best if you stay home. Relax. The system wants you to. I am not a doctor, but I have been to one or two before, and if your body needed that rest then it was a hundred per cent the healthy thing to do. You know, I think I read somewhere that some people just aren’t taking too much shit anyway. Like, biologically. Clearly, with these new rules implemented by “experts” you are just wired to stay up until 2 am watching “Working Moms” with your partner and then sleep until lunch. Besides, you really think it would have been better if you showed up to the morning meeting on time? Please. Your are only allowed to if you are vaccinated or at least dropped the PCR test in the pick-up box on time so they see your test result is negative. Taking this gurgle test at 8.30 am gives you a 24 hour guarantee that you won’t get this virus in the meantime….. are you kidding? Are you going into a sealed glass box for 24 hours after you have taken this gurgle test? No! You are moving around. You are at work. But, hey, the experts say, we have to do this. At least now, since you stayed home, you are well rested and can tell your entire team via “Teams Meeting” about that Kate Foster is pregnant again but actually cheated on her husband Nathan. So who is the father? Also are her boobs fake? Watch “Working Moms” – it is awesome.

OMG, your cannot be serious! Someone is mad at you because you showed up at work without a negative PCR test but with a negative Antigen test that is however not valid at this current covid-stage? But you are healthy, have a negative test AND have absolutely no symptoms and they send you home again? Guess what? You deserve it. Make sure you text all your colleagues at work how many episodes of Sherlock Holmes you watched and how comfy it is on your couch. Also throw in any project you did in your garden, things you got done, or ordered online, worked out with, and how much fun cooking at home is while drinking a glass of wine at noon. The least you can do in this situation is to orally vaccinate at home with alcohol since you cannot leave your house for days because it is possible that WEGA police officers have surrounded your property by now, equipped with Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson tranquilliser guns or darts to hunt you down.

I am sorry but all this is literally insane. Has the government ever heard of a little something called sanity or work-life balance? We all should just adopt what the Scandinavian countries are doing, meaning chilling the fuck down a bit and let the virus run its course? There, people can walk freely again without this damn FFP2 mask. This would make many people here in Austria a billion times happier, less miserable, and more productive. Another key factor is that nobody understands all these rules anymore. Too many and too confusing!

So, you are in quarantine again because someone at work was exposed to someone who may have been tested Corona positive two weeks ago. Quite factually, taking forced time off work and then telling your team (there is no I in team, or is it!?) about the awesome show you binge-watched all day and night is healthy for everyone. It builds camaraderie. Camaraderie is what makes people like their jobs even more.

You are still waiting for your PCR test result, huh? I heard they lost quite a bunch or ran out of them since so many people want to get tested to enjoy a Glühwein at the overcrowded Christmas Market at the Town Hall in Vienna. It is totally fine to go there if you are vaccinated because then you won’t need a PCR test. Makes sense, right?! Because with two to three vaccines you are fully immunised, cannot get the virus anymore, AND cannot spread it. Also, you can remove the mask for good since you are vaccinated right?! Oh, hold on: YOU CANNOT? You still have to test and wear the mask? Well, guess why? BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT IMMUNISED. YOU CAN GET IT, YOU CAN SPREAD IT! Healthier are most likely the ones who (have to) test every day and are as negative as my attitude toward all this Corona madness. Why would you send a symptom-free, healthy person with negative PCR test to home office? He cannot work in your office anymore because he is not vaccinated? Are you kidding me? I will rest just my case.

This simply cannot go on like this. Oh, someone said that the unvaccinated are rewarded by being able to stay ten days in quarantine? What the actual fuck? Being locked up is not a cool thing! Let’s focus on the fact that something unjust and absolutely horrible is happening to you and society.

You should get to enjoy at least five glasses of the best whiskey there is without feeling guilty about it. And obviously you need a couple of slices of homemade pizza. As a base, repeat after me: “I am amazing, healthy, have a negative test, have zero symptoms, and am locked away. FUCK THIS SHIT!” Seriously. I am not going to let you spiral here. I know this all sucks. We all suffer with this seemingly never-ending pandemic while looking sceptically at a dysfunctional government that comes up with more nonsense and lost track of the overall situation.

Of course you want to punch some people in the face. Honestly, anyone in your situation would want to. Maybe you can say that certain people bumped into you. Accidentally, sure, but how were you supposed to know that? He could have been a murderer overall. These days, nobody trusts anybody anymore. He could have had the virus and try to get you infected so you literally swung in self-defence. I really don’t understand why you are giving yourself such a hard time about this. It happens. It doesn’t, like, make you a bad person.

Neither does pushing certain people onto the subway track, by the way. I mean, what choice did you have? He was ranting about you should wear an additional face-mask, have 2 meters distance, goggles, and gloves. What exactly were you supposed to do? Let him ruin your life? I don’t think so. Can I ask you a question? I hope this isn’t offensive, but are you in therapy already? It just seems to me like you really should see someone. We all should after two(!) years of this insanity.

Look, I’m not saying that this was the best day of your life. It’s O.K. to wallow for a bit. Finish the pint of ice cream. Tomorrow is a new day. You have so much amazing shit ahead of you, because you are amazing. And this will be over at some point, I heard. Maybe the PCR result will get in tomorrow. Maybe not, and you will have another relaxed day at home. Stay positive and focus on your Self even if another lockdown will be announced today.

.The Importance of Vitamin D3.

Although I love cozy fall and winter evenings, I do reach a point where I eventually begin to feel a little deprived of some bright, warm sunlight, and rightly so, we need it! Vitamin D carries out some pretty big roles in our body. Today, I want to share why this vitamin is so integral to your health and why it can be extra important to supplement during the fall and winter. Especially now in this crazy pandemic which makes me wonder why nobody mentions supplements and healthy food choices to boost your immune system but to rather receive a 100 Euro gift certificate and a sausage if you get the vaccine? Just wondering…. but this is me.

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. It actually acts more like a hormone in our body than a vitamin and has countless important roles because nearly every tissue type in our body has a vitamin D receptor. This means having adequate vitamin D levels is crucial for good health and the function of many different systems in our body.

Sunshine is what enables our body to manufacture Vitamin D. It is made from the cholesterol in our skin when we’re exposed to sunlight. Unfortunately, these upcoming months, we don’t get a whole ton of sun. Let’s explore what some good old vitamin D does for us!

Health benefits of Vitamin D

Bone Health

It’s well known that vitamin D is essential for bone health. One of its main roles is stimulating and controlling the absorption of calcium. It helps draw calcium into the bloodstream and increase its absorption from our intestines.

Vitamin D also works synergistically alongside magnesium and vitamin K2 for optimal bone health. Vitamin K delivers calcium from the bloodstream to bones and teeth and helps remove calcium deposits found in soft tissue.

Immune Health

The sunshine vitamin supports our immune system and actually helps activate the T cells in our body. These cells seek out and destroy different bacteria and viruses that can cause colds and flu. In fact, a study in 2010 found that vitamin D3 supplementation during winter may help reduce your chances of catching the flu.

Mental Health

Vitamin D helps to activate our “feel good” neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine. This can be especially helpful for those who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) where a lack of sunlight has an adverse effect on mental health. It also helps maintain our nervous system and may help boost mood in those with depression.

Blood Sugar & Diabetes Management

Vitamin D can help support insulin levels and even diabetes management, including Type 1 and Type 2. According to research, 2000IU of vitamin D may help reduce the risk of Type 1 Diabetes. There was also a that study found low levels may increase risk of Type 2 Diabetes.

Cardiovascular Health

Vitamin D can even support your heart and reduce your risk of heart disease.

Cancer

There was a study that found participants’ cancer risk cut by 60% in those getting 1100IU per day, alongside calcium. How amazing is that?! Sufficient vitamin D levels in the body may also help reduce the risk of total rates of rates, including colorectalprostate, and breast cancer

How to boost your Vitamin D Levels

Food & Lifestyle

Get sunshine on your skin (being nude outside in the sun is the best, obviously not now!) and enjoy dark coloured mushrooms, eggs, and fish like sardines, herring and mackerel, or a cod liver oil.

Those of you living in cooler climates with limited sun exposure during parts of the year usually need a bit of a boost. Many people can benefit greatly from supplementing with this sunshine vitamin during the fall and winter months.

Supplementation

There are two kinds of vitamin D you can take as a supplement: vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) and vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol).

D3 is derived from lanolin—the oil found in sheep’s wool—while D2 is a plant-based source. D2 is a popular choice amongst vegans and vegetarians, however if possible, I recommend opting for D3 as it’s easier for the body to absorb.

You can take vitamin D in a liquid, soft gel, or tablet form. Vitamin D is fat-soluble and is therefore better absorbed when taken as liquid or encapsulated in an oil, as opposed to a hard, chalky tablet. Vitamin D absorption is best when taken with food.

Dosages vary depending on individual needs, but a safe amount to start with is 1,000IU, although many people require much more than that. Be sure to speak with your health care practitioner for the appropriate dose. Below you see the Vitamin D3 I currently take. My personal dosage in the cold, dark fall and winter months is about 5-10 drops daily. Sometimes 15 drops a day for 3 days in a row if I my throat is achy or itchy. With this dosage I feel awesome, awake, and haven’t had the flu this season (knock on wood). My current Vitamin D Level is at 89% which is pretty good. Most people are deprived of Vitamin D and have Levels of 7-8 % or even below.

Are You Low in Vitamin D?

Low levels of vitamin D are more common than people would think. Dry skin, depression, osteoporosis, and conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer, can be signs of low deficiency. A lowered immune function—such as frequent colds or flu—can also be implicated in vitamin D deficiency. Be sure to get your levels checked if you are concerned.

Stay healthy and let me know if you have questions.

.How to: Chia Pudding.

Many of you probably don’t know that I am a Certified Holistic Nutritionist who graduated from the Institute of Holistic Nutrition in Ottawa, Canada. I love everything health-related and cooking. Today, I would like to share two desserts that are very easy to make, taste delicious, and kids love them.

This decadent Chocolate Chia Pudding made with chia seeds, coconut milk, and cacao is the perfect wholesome dessert or midday snack. I have always been a fan of chia pudding because there are so many ways to make it. The base recipe is really simple.

How to make Chocolate Chia Pudding

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Servings: 4 servings

You will need:

  • a can of coconut milk
  • 30g chia seeds
  • 3-4 (medjool) dates or you can use a sweetener such as maple syrup or honey
  • 3-4 Tbs cacao powder (I use this one)
  • pinch of sea salt
  • for the banana chia pudding just use a banana and leave out the cacao
  • add water if desired or if pudding is too thick
  • Toppings (optional): chocolate chips, coconut flakes

A lot of chia pudding recipes involve mixing together the ingredients in a bowl, covering, and allowing to thicken on its own (since chia seeds are like little sponges that gelatinize when exposed to water). But I like to take it up a notch and blend it for an ultra-creamy pudding.

Instructions

  1. Peel dates and remove pits. Soak in a bit of warm water for 5-10 minutes or until softenend
  2. Add all ingredients to blender (I have a Vitamix!), including dates WITH the soaking water
  3. Blend on high until creamy well combined. Mixture will thicken rapidely in blender. Add up some extra water if needed to aid blending or for a thinner pudding.
  4. Transfer to container or jar (such as mason jar) and place in refrigerator to c hill and continue to thicken slightly.
  5. Enjoy with topping of choice!

.Decluttering your Relationships.

I am now in thin-ice territory.

Talking about relationships, especially toxic ones, are bound to cause distress and, in some cases, even heartbreak. Upsetting as it might get, most of us, sooner or later, are bound to find ourselves in this type of toxicity. How to get out? That’s where things get difficult. When a relationship starts turning sour, we immediately write it off as nothing more than a rough patch. Everyone has their ups and downs, and we want to be there both for the better and for the worse.

When time passes and the good times are a distant memory, we need to acknowledge that we are in trouble. Our treasured relationships, no matter if they are a love affair, friendship, or family member variety, are worth fighting for. But what happens when you are the only one fighting? When you are exhausting yourself to no avail, getting neither help nor appreciation from your loved one? Or even worse, when that person treats you with outright unkindness or disrespect? What happens if you, after every meeting, leave feeling drained, sad, angry, or hopeless, and you no longer believe the relationship to be salvageable?

We are taught to never give up on love, but what about when love gives up on us?

Whenever I talk about simplicity, minimalism, or scaled-down life choices, I inevitably end up on the subject of decluttering, organising, and downsizing – leaving my home, wardrobe, desktop, or mind feeling spars, clear, neat, and manageable. I go through my drawers, kitchen, phone, schedules, attics, and music playlists with gusto, discarding anything I render to be more dragging-down than a pick-me-up.

Yet, the one place I seem desperately reluctant to go through with trash bags in hand is my contact list. Few want to be considered selfish enough to only keep the relationships that are rewarding and respectful. But why? Why do we value the privilege of your own company so low, that it needn’t be received with gratitude? Or at the very least with appropriately good manners? We often find ourselves accepting toxic treatment that we would be appalled by if done to others. Could it maybe, just maybe, be that leaving is something reasonable to do? And instead, give your energy to the relationships that are deserving of it?

Simplifying our life often comes down to reducing the overwhelming and stress-inducing components of our day-to-day routines. Whether it be material things, thought processes, or activities. We want to focus on the things that give energy instead of drain it, that give us happiness instead of worry, that give our everyday life beauty and meaning instead of tension and anxiety. This is a good way to live. It makes sense and is reasonable. It might be selfish, but then again, what isn’t? Yet, the thought of decluttering where need be, especially among our relationships, is a daunting one. Giving your full focus to the things, thoughts, people, and plans that deserve you isn’t just selfish, it is also fair. To yourself, if no one else.

To tread carefully on this thin ice, I could assure you that I am not suggesting something as drastic as breaking up or letting a toxic relationship peter you out. But then maybe I am. Yes, as a matter of fact, I am.

.Meal Prep or Mom, this tastes horrible.

As a holistic nutritionist with a picky-eater son, I know how hard it can be to provide us with nutritious dinners that are also tasty, eco-conscious, cookbook-cover-worthy, and affordable. That is why I like to meal-plan and set myself up for success each week.

Disclaimer: Success varies greatly and typically manifests as a failure. I know you are wondering now: Are we supposed to just go about our everyday crazy lives and pretend that the collective trauma of a seemingly endless pandemic, the near-overthrow of our “democracy”, and irreversible damage to our climate isn’t real? Also, are there vegan, Keto, raw-food, or vegetarian options? Or, besides working full-time, I need more time and more healthy food options. This is how I meal-prep with a grain of sarcasm of course.

Grocery list: First things first. Is it safe to shop in person, or should I still get groceries delivered? What a great, unanswerable question! Luckily, all these meals can be made with basics from your pantry, unless, of course, your definition of “basics” is boxed wine, a pallet of family-sized hand sanitiser, and masks.

Monday: Start the week off strong with an easy, vegetarian three-bean chilli. All you’ll need is one pot, eight ingredients, thirty minutes, and a health insurance plan that at least partially covers cognitive-behavioural therapy. Eco-tip! Use reusable bowls, utensils, and straws, but somehow never wash them because that wastes water. It’s a real Catch-22, which is a book you know well since it was a mandatory read when you were in school.

Tuesday: Normally, Tuesday would be burger night, but there was an anti-mask rally outside the grocery store today, so you couldn’t pick up buns. Then, on the way home, you listened to a podcast about how the industrial meat industry is destroying the Amazon rain forest. Serve veggie burgers wrapped in lettuce, call the French fries “Pommes Frites,” and boom! You’ve got yourself a healthy, classy dinner. Fruit for dessert.

Wednesday: O.K., my son is still pretty mad about the whole fruit-for-dessert thing. No better way to rebound than with a tuna yoghurt sauce and zoodles (zucchini noodles). Tuna because it is high in mercury, and you can’t afford to damage your kids’ brains any more than constant exposure to screens already has. Reality: sub zoodles for real noodles, sub yoghurt for mayo, and then sub the whole thing for pizza.

Thursday: You know those videos in which perfectly manicured moms use the multicoloured batter to make fun cartoon-character pancakes for their delighted children? You don’t know how to do that. Sandwiches.

Friday: T.G.I.F.! Which in this house stands for “Thank God I (bought) Frozen dinners!” Did you know that you can eat frozen dinners for breakfast and lunch, too? It’s true! Plus, your kid(s) will get a decade’s supply of sodium. Chocolate and movie night.

Saturday: Pull out some cereal and sniff the milk. Since time is meaningless, it’s the breakfast-for-dinner night! This one requires almost zero prep, which gives you a few minutes to reflect on how the labour of creating a meal plan and doing all the budgeting, shopping, and cooking takes away from your ability to do other things, like staring at a wall. Hmm, that wall needs some fresh paint! Better just clean it while remembering the birthdays of every member of your immediate and extended family.

Sunday: Time to start planning for next week! Because the weeks never end! They just roll on, oblivious of our attempts at stackable food-storage solutions or our efforts to eat the whole rainbow every day. Yet we continue the strange performance of “planning,” as if playing a sonata on the deck of the Titanic can make people a bit more comfortable while the damn ship is sinking. A futile attempt at control as we slip through chaos into darkness and maybe, finally, into peace. Taco night! With lots of cheese.

.How to be your best Self.

People think being the best you is this long, epic journey of self-discovery, hard work and healthy living. But really, it is as easy as forming key habits and really sticking to them. Here are a few tips on how to be the best you while exerting little to no effort. Just follow them with a grain of sarcasm, obviously.

A healthy start.

I know you love to wake up at 8 a.m., but exercise is more important than you realize. A quick workout in the morning will make all the difference. 4.20 a.m. won’t feel as early as you think. Knock that back ten minutes (what’s ten minutes?) to meditate and you will be shocked at the sense of calm that pervades your day. Also, it couldn’t hurt to do a little journaling. People so underestimate the value of taking 15 minutes to write down their intentions for the day. If you really want to set yourself up for success, give yourself another 30 to make a quick smoothie (I know the easiest recipe) and toss some stuff into a crockpot for dinner later. I swear it’s so simple you could do it with your eyes closed. So maybe make it 3 a.m. It will feel like nothing.

A productive day.

Keeping your energy up at work is really as easy as standing up to stretch for a couple of minutes once or twice per hour. It’s second nature to me now, you should try it! You’ll feel your blood flowing more easily right away. It’s also good to bring little baggies of nuts and chopped-up veggies to snack on. This only takes five minutes of prep in the morning – forgot to mention that one! But trust, with emails pouring in all day, the last thing you’ll want to feel is sluggish. By the way – the key to keeping your inbox in order is to literally just deal with every email as it comes. Don’t let them pile up! I know you get hundreds a day, but each one realistically only takes a minute or two. That’s only around 400 minutes of emailing if you think about it.

Your lunch break is a great time to tackle personal to-dos, like writing thank-you notes for anything nice anyone does for you. Or prepare handwritten, crafted birthday invitations for your child’s party. They are such a quick, thoughtful way to prove you’re a nice person with your shit together, you know? It’s also a great time to go for a walk. Stretch those legs, you deserve it! While you’re at it, maybe give your mom or distant relative a buzz. Keeping in touch with those you care about is probably more important than anything. Nurture those relationships. It’s as easy as picking up the phone whenever you have a free two minutes.

A rejuvenating evening.

On your way home, pop by the grocery store for more smoothie, snack and crockpot ingredients. You should keep your fridge stocked at all times. When you finally get home, give yourself time to unwind. How good does that crockpot smell? Scarf this down (but really chew and taste the food — slowing down while eating is key to feeling satisfied) because you’re going to want to throw in your laundry before it gets too late. Those gym clothes don’t wash themselves, am I right? It only takes a few minutes spread out across two hours. While that’s running, give your bathroom a quick wipe down. Clean your bathroom every day and you never have to clean your bathroom, right? It only takes 10 minutes and you’ll thank yourself later. So easy.

Nighttime is for you. Practice a hobby or learn a new skill! Life is not all about work. All it takes is a little dedication – 30 minutes a day – and you’ll be doing your future self an unbelievable service. Fulfilment is about discipline and scheduling if you think about it. Then hop in the shower and treat yourself to a hair mask. Do this once a day and your hair will never be the same, not kidding. While that sits (it should take an hour, but you don’t have to do a thing, it does all the work for you!), plan your outfit for tomorrow. It’s so much easier to make these kinds of decisions at night. It will really only take you ten minutes, I swear, and your morning tomorrow will be a real breeze.

After you’ve grocery shopped, quickly cleaned, popped in some laundry, jumped in the shower, thrown on a face and hair mask, taken a minute to plan your outfit, practised your hobby for a bit, done some easy meal planning for tomorrow, meditated again, journaled about gratitude and full-body dry brushing, make sure to power down your phone and computer. No screens before bed! This is a no-brainer. Make sure you’ve done absolutely everything before you do so. All this should allow you to hit the hay around 1 a.m., which gives you a solid three hours of sleep until you have to wake up. You’re going to feel amazing! I promise.