Daily Use of Oils

One of the most common questions I get from people who are new to essential oils is “What do you use them for on a daily basis?”  I’ve decided to answer this question with a blog post.  Let’s get down to some basics first though before diving in.

There are three different ways to use essential oils.  The first is to diffuse them into the air.  I have a diffuser in our kitchen and one in each of our bedrooms as well as one at the office.  At night, the kids decide what they want in their diffusers.  Blake’s favourite is lavender.  Caleigh loves a blend of different citrus oils.  And Maggie would, if she could, put every single oil in the diffuser at once.  I do try to keep lavender in her diffuser because it helps her sleep…and I keep anything that helps “invigorate” her as far away as possible during the nighttime hours.

The second way to use essential oils is topically.  EOs can be put on your skin either neat (meaning just the oil)  or diluted in a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, etc.

The third way to use essential oils is internally.  I would only ever use essential oils internally if they were 100% pure, therapeutic grade.  The company I use is just that (links at the bottom).  And I know which oils are okay to use internally and which are not.  Citrus oils – lemon, wild orange, grapefruit, and more – are a great addition to water.  Other oils that can be taken internally are peppermint, lavender, the protective blend, and a few more.  Whether taken with water or in a veggie cap, it’s a great way to get the benefits of EOs directly into your body.

Which leads us to the next question…which oils do you use on a daily basis?  I updated my Instagram account last Thursday with regular posts on what oils I was using at what time.


My morning routine includes my homemade body butter (or cream as it’s not at all buttery but delightfully creamy) has wild orange and lavender in it.  It’s scent is to die for.  I dab my laugh lines with the Immortelle (anti-aging blend) and then 20-30 seconds later follow up with the body cream.  Melaleuca on my blemishes and a small dab of Whisper on my wrists before heading downstairs.


See the lemon?  That goes in my glass of water first thing in the morning.  If I have a scratchy or dry throat (more so in the winter!) I add a drop of peppermint.  Then as I’m making breakfast and later working at my computer, I came up with this blend of White fir and Lemon to wake me up and at the same time make me want to go snowshoeing in the forest.  I am feeling massively removed from my connection to the earth during the winter time.  I’m not outside as much as I am in the summer and so I crave the woodsy smells of White Fir, Vetiver, Arborvitae and Cedar.  I often diffuse them at night with lavender to give me a restful night’s sleep.


Thrown into today’s mix, a friend of mine fell down some stairs and broke her ankle.  She had just ordered her first essential oils but they hadn’t arrived yet.  So, off to her house I go with veggie caps filled with 6 drops frankincense, 6 drops of oregano and 6 drops of lemongrass.  It’s called the “Morphine Bomb” that helps reduce the pain.  A broken ankle is a broken ankle but if the pain can be helped a bit with EOs, then extra bonus!


Into the office for the afternoon, I diffused Wild Orange and Peppermint for a massive energy jolt.  It smells amazing and both are mood lifters.  Perfect to combat a grey afternoon for everyone who comes in to get adjusted.

Adjustment?  Check.

Essential oils?  Check.


After dinner, I take a drop of this digestive blend to support digestion.  One of its major ingredients is fennel and it certainly can be picked up on in the EO blend.  It reminds me of black liquorice, which I actually do not enjoy at all.  However, the digestive blend is quite mild and doesn’t bother me.


Nighttime routine includes more of my body butter infused with lavender and wild orange.  I use Deep Blue on sore muscles (from my earlier CrossFit workout!).  I put lavender and the respiratory blend in my diffuser and it helps us get through the night without congestion or sniffles.

So, there you go.  A basic daily use of oils.  Each day is different, which is the fun part.  The kids are always changing up what goes in the diffuser.  As things come up in life for my emotions, it’s comforting to know I have my own toolbox to go to when it comes to supporting myself through the day.  For example, Wild Orange is the Oil of Abundance and it helps to bring the mindset of joy and abundance into one’s life.  I love that each essential oil has not only a physical attachment but an emotional attachment as well.

Inspired to use essential oils for your health daily?  You can check out my Essential Oils page for more information!


Gratitude.  It’s one of my core values.  I am aware of the things in my life I am grateful for – my family, my passions, my abilities ,my health, and the opportunities I am presented with.  I take time each day to be thankful.

I find that Thanksgiving offer us an opportunity to tune in and be even more aware of the things and people in life we are most grateful for.  Each night, as I go to sleep, I think of the five things I was most grateful for that day.  It takes a short amount of time.  Sometimes it can be hard to think of something new so I go back to the easiest things for me – my husband, my children, my health.

The five things I’m grateful for today:

1) My amazing support system that kept me sane today while both physically and mentally I juggled getting Caleigh to school, getting Maggie to daycare, and keeping Blake at home while he healed from a 48 hour stomach flu all before 8:45 am.  Today, my support system was my mom (who took care of Blake at home while I worked this morning) and Kim (our amazing daycare provider who despite Maggie’s cries each time I drop her off, sends me texts through the day to let me know how well she’s doing and what she’s up to).  Without them this morning, I would not have been able to be present at my office and adjust the people I take care of.

2)  My husband, Tom.  He knows that I’m still getting up once or twice a night with at least one or two kids.  It’s been going on a while and it has definitely taken a toll on me.  So without even asking, he slept in Blake’s room and dealt with the vomiting at night, despite having the weakest stomach on the planet ever when it comes to watching someone else get sick.

3)  My commitment to my health.  With Blake being on the outs for the last two days, the germs have been aplenty in our home.  But because of being acutely aware of my adjustments, what I eat, my exercise, my sleep, my purpose in life, etc. I am strong and healthy and able to be there for Blake and know that my immune system is doing its thing to keep me well.

4)  Starbucks.  Sounds petty.  Sounds lame.  I make no excuses.  Sometimes it’s the caffeine that gets me through.

5)  My daughter, Caleigh.  She had her “flying up” ceremony in Brownies tonight and it was so great to be there for her.  I went through Brownies, Guides, and Pathfinders as a kid and now watching her embrace the traditions in the Guiding community makes me smile inside.  I’m just so happy to be able to watch her find something she really loves.

The newest Brownie.

The newest Brownie.

So this Thanksgiving weekend, I hope you take an opportunity to truly be grateful.  Be grateful for what you do have.  Because it can be as big as watching your kids do what they love or as small as a cup of tea.  But if it makes you smile, then take a moment at the end of your day to express thanks.

Wishing you all a happy Thanksgiving.

Baby adjustments

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  There is no greater honour in my chiropractic world than to be handed over a newborn baby and be asked to check them. There is something so perfect about providing a first adjustment to such a little being.

Little ones who, when they have a clear brain to body connection, function better.  They perceive their world more clearly.  They adapt more easily.  They are healthier.  Could a parent ask for much more?

Our own three children have been adjusted from the start.  Tom had the incredible experience to check them immediately after birth.  The birth process is hard on babies.  They go from being in a fluid, dark, warm, internal environment to the outside where there are colours, lights, smells, sounds, and touches they aren’t used to.  Never mind the journey they take to get here.  It’s a lot to process!

Why do they need to get checked by a chiropractor?  The answer is easy – they have a nervous system.   The nervous system is the most vital system of the body.  It is the master communicator and co-ordinator for the body.  We perceive our outside world through our nervous system.  The stress of birth and life in general can put stress on a baby’s nervous system causing an interference in the communication from the brain to the rest of the body and consequently impact how well they are able to perceive the environment around them.   Wouldn’t they function and adapt more easily if their nervous system was clear of any interference?  Wouldn’t they be healthier?


It’s why we still check our kids on a weekly basis.  Whether or not they are experiencing challenges with their health.  Whether or not they had a fall or an injury.  Whether or not they are feverish.  Our kids can be busting at the seams with energy and expressing health and we’ll check them.  We check them because they have a nervous system.  And if there is any interference with their body’s ability to send messages from their brain to the rest of their body, we adjust.  We correct that interference, the subluxation.

It’s why I love what we do.  As chiropractors, we have the incredible ability to work with people, healthy or lacking health, and help them function better.  We can help them express greater health.  From the newly born to their great grandparents and everyone in between.  I don’t take it for granted for even a second.  And I’m so grateful to each person I have the opportunity to work with.

Especially the littlest ones, who hold within them the promise of something great.


It’s Not Just One Treat

This is a conversation I’ve had with many parents both in and out of the office.  Regardless of how careful I am with my child’s nutrition at home, when they get out into the world, I can’t control how many treats (cookies, chips, candy, sugar, hot chocolate, etc.) they are being exposed to.

Let me be very upfront here.  Our kids don’t eat by design 100% of the time.  They are probably about 80%.  But here’s the kicker – that stat is for when we are at home.  What I am becoming increasingly more aware of is just how many crappy foods my kids are being exposed to when I’m not there.  School parties, special days, birthday parties, holidays, during activities, during classes, after sports,  sharing on the bus, at friends’ homes, at family’s homes, and even after a visit at a health professional (for being so well behaved!).

Where does it stop?

Where does it stop?

Sidebar: We give stickers out to the kids after their adjustments at ACG and fun things like swirly straws or pencils on holidays! 

While I think that the estimates by the author of the article (at end of post) are a little high, I have no doubt that my kids are being exposed to or offered treats on average 5-7 times per day.  And that adds up.  Plus, they are only 6, 3, and 4 months.  We’ll see where those numbers go when they are older.

Some moms and dads have said in passing they think we control our kids diets too much.  Hardly.  As the author states, the number of times I hear “Oh, it’s just one treat” would boggle your mind.  This is a HEALTH issue.  The state of health in our country proves that despite all of the money and education that is dumped into our health care system, we are far from the healthiest country in the world. According to the World Health Organization, Canada ranks a measly 30th, behind countries like Oman, Singapore, Columbia and Israel amongst others (U.S. ranks 37th).   Obviously our “health care system”, which includes nutritional education and counselling, isn’t working.  I wish my kids to be healthy.  In fact, it might be the biggest thing I wish for them.  So each time I choose a healthy food at the grocery store over an unhealthy food, I’m making a conscious choice to help support my kids’ health.

It’s a constant battle however, because so many schools and activities teach the wrong things when it comes to nutrition.  The food pyramid, “whole grains are healthy”, milk does a body good, and that fatty foods are bad for you (the whole concept of ‘low-fat’ and ‘fat-free’ as being good for our health is being taught in our society at an alarming rate and needs to be stopped!) are all fallacies.  When Caleigh (our 6 year old) comes home from school and is being taught these concepts, we have to explain that our family looks at and understands nutrition differently and that just because something is taught in school or at her Sparks troop or in one of her activities, doesn’t always make it right.

So, right now, I can teach my own kids proper nutrition.  And I can feed them proper nutrition.  And I can continue to inspire other parents in our office about how to eat by design – literally eat the way our bodies were designed to be fed!  I am hopeful that people will truly start to live healthier lives…but here’s the most important lesson from this post.  If what we’re doing now isn’t working, it means making a radical shift in how we live our lifestyles in order to achieve this.  Are you willing to make a different in your life?  In your child’s life?  If so, we can help.  Check out the Life by Design seminars at our office.  A journey begins with one step.  Make it this one.

Check out THIS ARTICLE written by Yoni Freedhoff for his insights.

Chicken Pot Pie is What’s For Dinner (cause it’s Wednesday!)

Tonight I was in the mood for some really great comfort food.  It was damp outside and I wanted something warm and delicious.  Chicken Pot Pie had not been on my plan for tonight.  It was supposed to be steak and grilled vegetables but quite honestly at noon, the thought of BBQing some steaks sounded like a lot of work.  So I went to plan B.  Chicken pot pie is about as good as it gets when it comes to comfort food.  The challenge is that traditional CPP is baked in a deliciously flaky but totally not by design crust.  (Read: grains are bad for you)  So I went to one of my favourite websites for a By Design recipe to keep my stomach happy without compromising my health at the same time.

Introducing Health-Bent.

By the end of the meal, it received three out of four thumbs up from the Ryan Family.  Blake, though, sat dinner out because he was mad that I wasn’t allowing him to play with an inflatable crayon that Caleigh won at Winterfest last weekend.  So his “thumbs down” doesn’t really count since he chose not to eat dinner at all.  I suppose then since Tom, Caleigh, and myself finished off our plates (and all but licked them), I get an A+.

By Design Chicken Pot Pie

By Design Chicken Pot Pie

I’m taking the ingredients & method directly from the Health Bent site.  


  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and diced
  • 1  red onion, diced
  • 1 small bunch fresh collards, any other green will work too (4-5 cups chopped, stems removed)
  • 8 oz mushrooms, chopped
  • 1-2 T fresh thyme
  • 1 lb chicken breasts (or thighs or a mix)
  • 4 T FOC (fat of choice)
  • 3 c chicken stock
  • 1 T potato starch**
  • s&p

For the Crust:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 c almond flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 t salt
  • ⅓ c butter (we used butter, but think non-hydrogenated palm shortening or coconut oil would work well too)

The Details:

n a large soup pot with a lid, heat your FOC over medium-high heat, then add your diced chicken. You want your pot to be pretty hot…you should hear a good sizzle when you add the chicken. Now…resist the urge to mess with it for a few minutes. You need to leave it down for a bit to get it a little brown. Test by peeking under a piece. When you’ve reached the desired brown-ness, go ahead and stir and finish cooking the chicken until done. This should take 4-6 minutes. Remove the chicken from your pot and set aside.

Add the remaining 2 T FOC and all of your peeled, diced veg (carrot, parsnip, onion, collards, mushrooms, thyme) to your pot and cover. Trapping the steam will help cook down your vegetables. Stir occasionally until all vegetables are cooked through and collards are almost finished cooking. Your collards should be wilted down and soft with a slight bite still to them. This will take 10-15 minutes. Now add the stock. Bring this up to a simmer and let the veg and collards cook a little longer, about 5 minutes. Add your chicken back in. The potato starch is going to be your thickener. To prevent it from clumping, add  1 T of starch to a small bowl along with 1-2 T water. Whisk or stir with fork until all lumps are gone and then add to the pot. Stir this through and reduce the heat until the mixture reaches a thickness that looks right for pot pie filling.

Remove this from the heat and add to any oven save bakeware (pyrex, stoneware, etc.). You could use ramekins and make individual pot pies here. Try to choose a size that will be filled to the brim by your mixture. However, this is not essential.

For the Topping!

Let the butter (or palm shortening/coconut oil) get slightly softened and add it to your mixer bowl with the almond flour, salt and baking powder. Mix until evenly distributed. If you don’t have a mixer, do this with a fork. Now add your egg whites to the mix and stir to combine. Keep this mixture in the fridge if you make it ahead. When you’re ready to bake just top your pot pie veggie mixture (ramekins or other) with the dough. Bake at 400 F for 12-15 minutes until the top(s) is/are golden brown.

*Standard American Diet

**If you have issues with potato, I’m sure arrowroot powder would suffice as a thickener, but can’t estimate, off-hand, the quantity that would be needed…

Back to me now.  My two challenges with this recipe tonight.

1) I didn’t have potato starch so I subbed in arrowroot starch since I had some in the pantry.  It needed more than I would normally accept in a by design meal (probably about 2 tbsp) but I’ll be honest with what I used.

2) The 5:30 time is always busy in our place.  It’s Maggie’s bedtime (which entails a diaper change, change into pyjamas, and her being breast fed) plus it’s the time when my older two kids are hungry.  And by hungry I mean “I want food!  I want a snack!  I’m hungry!” is all I hear until dinner is on the table.  So, I totally forgot to put the egg whites into the topping mix.  But it turned out OK so while I”m sure it was even better with the egg whites, it tasted great without them too.

With dinner done, I turned my focus to Caleigh’s school lunch for the next day.  It’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow.  I enjoy the day – it’s a fun day where I can be with my family and appreciate them for all that they mean to me.  What I don’t love about it is the totally unnecessary onslaught of chocolate and sugar that my kids are exposed to.  So, I made a fun lunch for Caleigh so that she can still celebrate Valentine’s in a unique way.  I fully expect her to indulge in the chocolates she gets at school (she’s 6 for goodness sake, I don’t know many six year olds who wouldn’t love chocolate) but I can at least make sure that she gets a lunch that is totally by design.  She knows her mom still loves her and has put time, effort, and love into making her lunch.  (apples, carrots, strawberries, and all-natural ham cold cuts)

Valentine's Day Lunch for C

Valentine’s Day Lunch for C

And as a contribution to her class Valentine’s Day party, we decided to give pencils with heart erasers on them versus adding to the chocolate and candies that I assume will be handed out at the party.  She is pretty excited to share them with her friends.  🙂

Caleigh's V Day gifts to her classmates

Caleigh’s V Day gifts to her classmates

Why do I feel that one less chocolate is good for her?  Because it is.  The less sugar, chocolate, and processed crappy foods that my kids eat, the better.  Health is pretty important to me and I am trying my best to instil solid principles in my children when it comes to understanding the WHY behind WHAT we do in our health.  Part of my purpose is to inspire others to live a healthier life.  So if even just one parent, while unpacking their kids school bag tomorrow, thinks “A pencil! What a great idea, I’ll have to remember that for next year!” then I have in a small way lived my purpose today.

Halfway there

I”m halfway through my Life by Design 30 Day Challenge.  I’m feeling really great, despite a few hiccups (read: cheats…you’ll read about it later in this post) along the way.  But I would say I’ve been about 90% By Design for two weeks, which really is impressive considering what I’ve had going on in life the last few weeks.  I’ve heard it a lot from people in the last bit….”Why are you so focused on this challenge with a new baby?” and “You’ve got three kids so how are you doing this eating by design thing?” and “Don’t you have enough stress right now to not add in a month long challenge?”

Here’s why – we ALL have stuff going on in life.  Whether it’s a new baby, a crazy job, family stress, money stress, holidays, blah  blah blah.  It’s all stuff.  And so MY 30 Day Challenge is no different from YOUR 30 Day Challenge in that my stress is mine, and yours is yours.  Stress isn’t a reason to not live a healthy life.  If anything, it is THE reason to live a healthy life.   My reasons are abundant – my

My reasons for focusing on extraordinary health.

own life, my kids lives, my husband’s life, my desire to be a chiropractor and help people, to play, to have fun, to travel, to enjoy, to thrive, to learn, to grow….I could come up with a thousand reasons to focus on my health every day of my life.  It takes one walk through the grocery store or a mall to give me a push to focus on more extraordinary health.  I see people who are slowly walking around with a negative cloud over their heads and playing the victim in their lives.  Everything is someone else’s fault and they take little to no responsibility for their lives.  It’s depressing to me.  And I refuse to be a victim, refuse to accept mediocrity, and refuse to live a life that is less than extraordinary.

So, back to my 30 Day Challenge.

This weekend was an awesome weekend.  I was up a few times Friday night through Saturday morning feeding Miss Maggie and it was fascinating to watch how the snow blew in.  At 11PM, it was merely a bit of a blowing of snow across our front yard.  At 3AM, the flakes were coming down, big fluffy flakes that were lit up so beautifully by the street lights, and accumulating quickly on the ground.  At 6:30AM, when my son so kindly woke me up by yelling at his sister “Caleigh!  CALEIGH!  I woke Mommy up because she has been sleeping for hours and hours!” (oh, the irony), the yard was blanketed in a good six inches of the white stuff.  It was pristine, untouched, and absolutely beautiful.  I love the first snow fall of the season.  My kids were beside themselves with excitement and flew through breakfast in order to be outside playing as quickly as possible.  And I cuddled up at the bay window with Maggie and watched as her older siblings tumbled, ran, somersaulted, dove, and dug through the snow.  It was a brilliant start to a lovely weekend and between the laughter and play that I soaked up with the kids and Tom, I also read more of “The Greatness Guide” by Robin Sharma (my book of the month).  Great tip for busy moms, TGG is a great book to read because the “chapters” are three pages or less long.  No excuses to get a flash of inspiration each day!

Dinner Saturday night was at a friend’s home, and it was a delicious potluck with lots of different foods.  In general, I think my friends think I’m beyond crazy with how I eat.  In fact, there is one friend who takes every opportunity to give me a hard time and tries to tempt me with Cheezies.  First off, they are Cheezies.  It’s about as far from food as possible so it’s not at all a test of my will power.  If he knew me better, he could tempt me with some chocolate and caramel and I might cave.  With parties or dinners though, I pick and choose what I’m going to be eating based on my By Design choices.  I will pass on the bread and load up on the meatballs.  I choose the cut vegetables over the tortilla chips.  It’s not ALWAYS going to work in my favour but most times I can be sure that I can eat By Design when I’m out at a party or a restaurant, and walk away from the event feeling good about my choices versus feeling like I fell off track.

The rest of the weekend was super easy to keep track of as we hung out around the house, decorating for Christmas and playing with the kids.  I snapped some photos for our Christmas card.  I made a huge vat of beanless chili and a huge pot of chicken and vegetable soup.  That’s one of my tricks for EBD, make large portions of food that can be reheated over and over throughout the week.  I mean, can you beat a bowl of chili topped with a half of avocado chopped up and a dollop of full fat Greek yogurt?  Me thinks not.  Other foods this weekend included omelettes,  almond flour waffles, fruits, cut vegetables, bacon, roast beef, and sweet potatoes.  I did fall off track a bit with a couple of chai lattes from Starbucks.  They’re loaded with sugar (42 g of sugar, holy crap) which is why I am always saying I’m going to cut them out completely but like an addict, I do go back occasionally.  Here’s my confession…I had two this weekend.  RIDICULOUS.  I know.

Moving by Design…wasn’t a huge focus this weekend.  Some mobility work and a bit of walking.  I had planned on doing some more body work in getting ready to go back to the gym but that didn’t work as I had planned.  It didn’t stop me from getting back at it Monday morning.  Although I have to admit, it would have been easy to take a day off on Monday too.  Maggie and Blake both have this crazy cough and so instead of taking them out of the house, I stayed at home.  Didn’t stop me from hitting the basement and doing a modified and shortened training session.  I spent 20 minutes doing lunges, squats, sit ups, push ups, and burpees in Tabata fashion, which means 20 seconds of movement, 20 seconds of rest.  So, imagine 20 seconds of sit ups and 20 seconds of rest and then repeating multiple times.  Short, intense, and I didn’t use “no gym time” and “sick kids” as an excuse.  My health is a priority to me!

So, that’s it.  My weekend during a By Design Challenge which is truly just like any other weekend.  There is no difference in living a lifestyle that is full of healthy choices and living a lifestyle that is full of unhealthy choices.  Let’s be honest – it’s a choice.  Whether you choose health or not, it’a lifestyle.  My lifestyle is NORMAL for me.  Would it be easier to eat McDonald’s and sit on the couch all weekend?  Sure.  Would I live as long a life with as much health?  No.  So for me it’s worth the investment in both time and money to make healthy choices NOW so that I can enjoy the rewards throughout my life.

Mom of Strength

In July of 2011, I started my CrossFit journey.  My girlfriend and colleague, Amy, wrote an amazing blog post on being a CrossFit Mom a few weeks back.   She touched upon all the reasons that I too fell in love with CrossFit.

1.  Movement is a requirement for life.  Even at the most basic level of breathing, it requires us to move our rib cage in and out.  The more we move, the more we reinforce our health and our life.  It’s one of the reasons I teach Move by Design at our office, because every single person needs to work on movement.

2.  Pushing one’s self at a new sport builds strength and capability.  What I have gained from CrossFit, I never gained from my years in swimming, running, or working out at other big box gyms or community centres.  I gained an inner and outer strength, my inner strength was just as important as the outer in that not only did I look better, but I functioned better.

3.  Anyone can do it.  What I used to think was impossible or unreachable – getting strong but not bulky, Olympic lifting, doing a pull up, etc. – has proven the opposite.  I trained pregnant and did a dead lift of 120 pounds in my 8th month.  I train with men and women of different sizes, different body shapes, different ages, different capabilities, and at different stages in their lives.  To say “exercise isn’t for me” is a fallacy.  It’s not only a complete contradiction to what your body requires, it’s an excuse.  And it wasn’t until my eyes were opened at my local CrossFit gym, that I put aside all the years of excuses bottled up in me that kept me from being the best version of myself.

4.  I needed a coach.  For years, working out at a gym or running on my own was my way of training without having people pay attention to me at the same time.  I could blend in at the gym on the machines or go unnoticed on the road as another runner slogging through her miles.  But the years of not asking for help and “doing my own thing” ended up year after year with the same results – limited muscle tone, still overweight, and no real change in my basic health.  I ran marathons and half marathons and still carried around extra weight!  From the moment I had my first Foundations class at CrossFit, I spend my entire sessions with a certified coach.  And six months later, I could not believe the difference in the level of my health – measured in strength, stamina, flexibility, mobility, lung capacity – because of that coaching.

5.  The Community.  Unlike anything I have ever experienced in another sport, the love for CrossFit by CrossFitters is almost cult-like in the best definition of the word.  Just ask someone who is hooked, and you will discover the love/hate relationship we all have with it.  The HATE is when you walk into the gym (the box) and see the WOD (Workout Of the Day) for the first time and a deep sense of dread takes over your body.  A combination of Olympic lifts, burpees, push ups, sit ups, pull ups, wall balls, kettle bells, hand stands, sprinting, gymnastics, and more in a dizzying WOD that makes you wonder (EVERY SINGLE DAY) whether or not you’ll complete it without passing out.  But the LOVE is that high, that sense of accomplishment, that overwhelming exhaustion that has you lying on the floor after you’re done.  I live for that LOVE.  CrossFitters are a different group in that we also support one another through the workout.  Classes are small, no more than 10 people, and we are all there to cheer one another on and make sure we finish.  Not one person leaves the gym until we are all finished.  And as we finish, a round of applause and cheers breaks out to congratulate all of the finishers.  And then we all come back within a day or two to do it again.

So, yesterday, I returned to my CrossFit Journey after taking six weeks off.  Two weeks prior to baby M coming, I found that the training sessions were becoming too much for my body and I was more cranky in the workouts than I was happy.  And it took me four weeks after having her (she was a gentle cesarean birth) that I felt comfortable getting back and committing once again to training.  I spent a half hour in the gym working mainly on mobility and some basic strength movements – rowing, foam rolling, stretching, push ups, squats, lunges, and step-ups on a box jump.  It was far from what I was used to doing in the gym (first time I was able to leave the gym without breathing heavily and getting my heart rate back to normal) but it was a first step back.  I recognized my limitations after having a baby and respected them but also started pushing myself a bit.

This morning I’m feeling it.  Sore legs, chest, and arms (hello lunges, squats, and push ups).  It’s the Best.  Feeling.  Ever.  I missed that soreness knowing I’m doing something awesome for my health.  The goal?  A WOD in two weeks.

And how did M feel about her first training session at CrossFit with her mom?  Maybe not too impressed, but like Amy, I look forward to hearing “Wow, Mom!” in a few years.  There is something incredibly empowering showing my kids that their mom, like their dad, can be strong and capable.

Getting Inspired

Sometimes I wonder if chiropractors are living in our own little microcosm of spizz (spizz: Short for spizzerinctum. Chutzpah, guts, nerve, or backbone; Determination, ardor, or zeal.)  I don’t know many people who get ridiculously excited about “continuing education” as chiropractors do.  Maybe they exist.  Until, however, I meet people who are so stoked about what they do that they go as far as having Facebook groups devoted to pursuing the inspiration, education, empowerment, and excellence in their profession, I will continue to believe that chiropractic is the best profession in the entire world.

This weekend was the perfect example of just how awesome my profession is.  Thirty individuals (chiropractors, chiropractic teams, chiropractic students all who live their Life by Design) gathered at Western University in London, Ontario at LifeCon 2012.  It was essentially a big love fest for Life by Design.

Let’s start with a concept that rocked my world.


Can you argue with that?  I think not.  Do you deserve to be extraordinary?  Do your kids deserve to be extraordinary?  Do the people you work with, the people you play with, the people you love, the people that inspire you, the people that drive you crazy, the people you don’t know all deserve to be extraordinary?  Of course so.  When people are extraordinary, they live extraordinary lives and express extraordinary health.  And to me that should be a rite we are all born with.  Imagine the state of the world if we all lived extraordinary lives.  Me thinks the world would be a better place.

This is the WHY behind Life by Design.  This is the WHY behind what we do each and every day in our office.  Because I KNOW that every single person that walks into our office to get checked by their chiropractor, deserves to be extraordinary.  My job is to help them be extraordinary by clearing their brain-body connection (power) and inspiring them with the concepts of Life by Design (eat, move & think).  Because an extraordinary life is driven by extraordinary health.

What also got me spizzed was meeting the other chiropractors and students who have Life by Design offices, or are working towards having offices, across Canada and the United States.  Talk about an inspired group of people!  These chiropractors are making a real difference in their communities – creating a movement that is re-shaping how people look at health.  What I love so much about these people is that they are all so engaged in the process of creating the Life by Design movement in their community that they are active (like us) on Facebook, Twitter, and through blogs.  When you have some time, please check these amazing people out ~  Jamie & Joel in London, Kreso & Rachelle in London, Karen in Edmonton, Amy in Woodbridge, and Mike, Ryan & John in Kanata.

This weekend I walked away with a renewed sense of excitement about chiropractic and what we do in our office.  If you’ve been following my blog, you know I’m on maternity leave right now.  I’m three weeks into a six week mat leave and loving every moment I have with my three incredible kids.  I also, however, love what I do as a chiropractor.  I’ll be back in the office mid-December and I can’t wait to once again adjust people.  I can’t wait for 2013.  I can’t wait to take the Life by Design movement in Barrie to a whole new level.  Because Barrie deserves to be extraordinary, filled with extraordinary people.  And it starts with what we have to offer at our office.  Get your spine and nervous system checked.  You deserve a brain body connection that is clear, and you deserve to know what will support an extraordinary life.  I’m here and I’m ready.  I hope you are too.

Day 4 & Getting my Body Back

I’ve been pretty good with my 30 Day Challenge.  In reality, it’s only day 4.  But often, it’s the first few days that are the hardest.  It requires dedication and a lot of effort to change the habits we’ve had for weeks, months, and years.  For me, it was the small things – the elimination of sugar – that has been the hardest.  I didn’t even eat a lot of sugar going into the challenge however it was the small things that I picked at here and there that made me realize I wasn’t eating as by design as I should be.  The Hallowe’en candy, the chai tea latte from Starbucks (truly, that deserves it’s very own post and I promise to write one within the week), the addition of honey to my tea, and so on.  But it’s coming, and while my body has crashed a little since going to over 90% eating by design, I’m looking forward to seeing how I feel a week from now.  By “crashed” I mean my immune system was taxed over the last few weeks and as I clean out my body, my immune system is rebelling just a little.  Headache, the chills, exhaustion…all signs that my body is tired and it needs some extra support right now.  It definitely doesn’t mean to come off eating by design, taking my supplements (vitamin D, fish oils, and probiotics), getting movement in some form every day, and focusing on my purpose right now.

Getting my body back is a huge priority for me.  I was damn strong before getting pregnant and up until 37 weeks pregnant, I was still training at CrossFit Barrie 2-3 days per week.  It was a modified workout so that I wasn’t stressing out my pregnant self, but ultimately I was still doing push-ups, burpees, pull-ups, Olympic lifts, skipping and more.  It wasn’t necessarily a pretty training session but it was   being done.  So, now, other than a daily walk with my kids around our neighbourhood, I’ve started doing some simple body work to re-train my body on how to properly squat, do push ups, and more.  The physical changes of my body during the last few months really altered how one properly moves with Olympic lifts.  My centre of gravity was off and in order to not fall over in squatting moves, I really had to throw my upper body forward.  Until my posture and body position is good during the movements, I don’t want to add any heavy weights into the workout.  (Also, let’s be honest, having a cesarean birth 3 weeks ago, I do have to respect my limitations as my body heals from the inside, out)

Next week, the plan is to actually get back into the gym.  Those 5 push-ups are calling and I’ve got 26 days to get my strength back up.

The Epitome of Being a Mom

This weekend was a long weekend.  Not in the sense of an extra day to spend with family but in the sense that starting on Thursday, both of our older kids developed a croup-like cough and the next three days were…well….long.  If you’re not sure what croup is, imagine watching your kids begin a coughing fit that quickly escalates to the sound of a seal barking.  The cough continues to get worse and eventually there is so much strain between coughs that they can’t breathe properly and you find them gasping for breath before the next coughing fit starts.  Honestly, it can be quite scary and at one point we thought we might be on a trip to the hospital to help our son so that he could breathe again.  Instead to combat their croup, we moved between steamy showers to loosen the chest congestion and bundling them up in blankets, jackets, and a hat and mitts to sit with them outside hoping the cold night air will calm their breathing. It makes for a very long night.  This past Thursday night was epic.  Between being up with two kids in massive coughing fits and our third little one who nurses every 2-3 hours, it didn’t leave much time for sleep for us or our kids.

Here’s the interesting catch though.  When my kids are down and out (read: expressing symptoms of any kind), I feel like I define the epitome of a mom.  I become their very own superhero.  The small things I do to help them be comforted in the middle of the night are so appreciated.  A simple luke warm cloth on their forehead to make them feel slightly cooler than their fever becomes like a security blanket of comfort.  Snuggling next to them at night in order to hold their hand or hug them when they can’t get their breath calms them down.   Giving them a chiropractic adjustment to reconnect their brain body connection when they ask for one in the middle of the night, because even at 3 and 6 years old they know it will not only help them feel better but it will help them function better.  I sometimes feel like when my kids need me the most is when I define motherhood the most.  They know that I’ll be at their side three seconds after they call out for me in the middle of the night.  Because that’s what moms do when their kids aren’t feeling well.

Even during those nights when I’m trying to be the best mom possible for my kids, I do take a step back and recognize that most times the best way to approach symptoms or “dis-ease” is to wait and see.  Symptoms are never fun, they will make kids (or adults) miserable.  But as a parent and a chiropractor, I recognize and respect what symptoms are.  They are the body’s way of fighting off the invading organism that has settled in.  A fever is a great way to kill off an infection because bacteria and viruses proliferate at normal body temperature.  Raise the temperature of the body and the invading organism is killed off.  Pretty genius of our bodies, yes?

Don’t misunderstand me, as a parent I don’t like to see my kids sick.  I understand that this weekend, I could have given them a baby Tylenol and their fever would have been gone and they would have been sleeping soundly within 20 minutes.  I instead chose the “wait and see” approach because I’ve learned there are ways I can support their bodies instead of giving medications which don’t allow for proper healing to take place.  For instance, if they are running a fever, I’d rather give them a warm face cloth that doesn’t return their temperature to normal but does allow them to feel comforted just enough to get them back to sleep.   Even our kids now know that symptoms are their body’s way of “getting rid of the bad stuff”, whether it be a fever, a cough, or vomiting.  By teaching them to respect their body’s healing ability, they also learn what they can do to better keep their bodies healthy in the first place.  We weathered the weekend by staying home, resting, getting adjusted, keeping warm, drinking lots of water with a touch of honey and lemon, and eating foods that support their health.

Speaking of doing all the right things to keep their bodies healthy in the first place, tomorrow I begin a Life by Design 30 Day Challenge.  Our newest family addition is 19 days old and the 30 day challenge is a great kick in the but to get back to the physical, biochemical, and mental health I was in before I was pregnant.  I am really looking forward to getting back on track and seeing the results after a month.  And I feel like the whole family is turning over a new leaf tomorrow as both kids seem to have finally kicked this cough and we’re starting the week healthy and ready to go.