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Grow Your Yoga Week #1: Be Healthy

Be Healthy-nat

Today’s post is written by a good friend of mine and Moksha Yoga teacher Natalie. Natalie teaches at Moksha Yoga NDG here in Montreal.

Today is also Day #1 of the 30 Day Smoothie Challenge. I hope everyone is ready to go! It’s not too late to sign up if you haven’t done so yet.

Check out this video of Natalie and I that we made a while back. If you are signed up for the challenge be sure to give this recipe a try!


Grow Your Yoga Week #1: Be Healthy by Natalie

“They say you are what you eat, so I strive to be healthy
My goal in life is not to be rich or wealthy
Cause true wealth comes from good health, and wise ways
We got to start taking better care of ourselves”
Dead Prez, Be Healthy

The first challenge of the Grow Your Yoga month-long extravaganza is Be Healthy. From May 1st-7th, make your choices healthy ones. No matter what your lifestyle is, I bet you there’s some way you can move towards being healthier and feeling better.

Embrace this challenge by adopting a healthier diet for the week, thereby making a better choice for both you and the environment. The Grow Your Yoga crew have suggested you eat local, organic, vegetarian or vegan and you can read all about this great challenge at www.growyouryoga.ca

If you haven’t already signed up, you do that on the site for only 10$, all money going to the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Project.

Be Healthy has a lot of meaning to me and I wish my words could have great power to inspire you to embrace and dive into this challenge for both this first week and the entire month, maybe even the rest of your life. I am so passionate about healthy living and the positive effect it has had on my life, if only there was some way for me to plug you into my brain and my heart so you could see and feel how my lifestyle has enabled me to feel so good-but I’m not sure that would be healthy!

So, instead, I’ll just tell you a little bit about the way I used to live and the way I live now. I used to work too hard, party non-stop, barely ever sleep and either barely eat or eat unhealthy foods. I lived that way for a long time and it worked great for a few years. I lived off adrenalin and stimulants. Then every few weeks I started to crash hard and I’d need stronger stimulants just to bring me back to neutral. My body rejected this lifestyle so strongly I actually caused my intestine to rupture and had to have emergency surgery.

Coming out of that experience, I made a few changes to the way I ate, but I didn’t change the rest of my habits. I smoked, I drank, I partied and didn’t sleep. I was so disconnected from myself, from the needs of my body, I didn’t even know I wasn’t ok. One day, I made the choice to walk away from my lifestyle. I was drained and alone and empty. I didn’t think I could ever feel good again, I didn’t think I’d ever have energy again. I’d see happy people around me smiling and all full of light and all I felt inside was fatigue and a deep sadness.

One day I picked up a book about food and healthy living and it made such an impact on me, I changed my eating habits that day and slowly, I started to feel better. It made me so excited to experience health and have energy, I kept reading and learning and because I had more energy I was able to practice yoga more. Yoga was so important to me, but had never been able to fit into my former lifestyle.

That was five years ago and I am so thankful every day for where my life is today and how I feel inside. I’ve cleared my body of all the toxins I fed it for so long and now I can really feel which foods drain me and which ones nourish me. It’s awesome! This path of eating healthy has guided me towards physical, mental and spiritual health.

Here are the first three books I read:
The Thrive Diet by Brendan Brazier
The China Study by T. Colin Campbell
Diet For a New America by John Robbins

I’ve chosen to live Vegan and eat a lot of raw foods. There are many ways to fuel and nourish your body in a healthy way so I really encourage you to get inspired and learn as much as you can. I use Kieran’s blog for recipes, find great local restaurants that serve healthy foods and make time to take care of myself. From the bottom of my heart I wish you health, and Kieran, you are some kind of genius, because health is happiness.



Nat headshot1

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Crudessence Smoothie Recipe

cru smoothie pic


I am excited to say that today’s post is brought to you by Montreal’s own Crudessence.

Crudessence is a Montreal based restaurant committed to bringing people into deeper reflection and inspiring daily acts of self-respect and responsibility.  This is why our culinary approach is vegan, organic, predominantly raw, gluten-free, hand-made and favouring local and fair-trade suppliers.  Serving living, nourishing foods while helping each individual discover a deeper potential brings infinite meaning to our slogan, serving life.

As life gets busier, too often the first sacrifice made is the very thing that keeps us going throughout the day: fuel (commonly known as food). We opt for quick fixes like takeout, processed foods, snack food or nutritionally incomplete snacks to fill in the gaps between meals. Sometimes these options will even replace our meals! There has to be a better way, right? Right!

Instead of advising that you take time to prepare each of your meals, let us suggest the healthiest quick fix that you can possibly fit into your life: smoothies. Smoothies have limitless potential! Fruit smoothies, green smoothies, chocolate-banana smoothies, breakfast smoothies, midday snack smoothies, dessert smoothies, superfood smoothies, pre-workout smoothies, post-workout smoothies, meal replacing smoothies… this list goes on! Packed with fresh and delicious nutrients, smoothies make you the artist and your blender the blank canvas.

During your 30-day challenge, try making one of our favourites, the Doux-vert. If you’re having trouble convincing your child (or spouse) to eat their greens, this smoothie just may be the solution. Spinach lovers and haters alike will reunite around the metaphorical water cooler and rave about this Crudessence classic!

Stop by one of our restaurants this spring and let us make you your favourite smoothie!


Find 180 more Crudessence creations in our recipe book!

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Mango Orange Lemon Cashew Vanilla Smoothie Inspired by Crudessence

Happy New Year to everyone. I hope everyone enjoyed their holidays. January 2nd means back to work and back to reality for many of us. Whether your New Year’s resolution involves changing your diet and lifestyle to improve your health, or not, you will love this smoothie. It is healthy as well as a treat for your taste buds. Really, it is amazing. Start the new year off right with this “sun kiss” smoothie.

This creamy, sweet and refreshing smoothie is made with mango, orange, lemon, cashews, vanilla and water. It is our version of a smoothie they make at Crudessence here in Montreal called the Sun Kiss smoothie. I personally have never tried it at the restaurant, but it is one that Natalie has tried and loves. After having made our own version of it I understand why.

It is ridiculously good. Honestly. It really is like a glass full of smiles. This is great in the winter as well as in the summer. Give our version a try as well as the original Sun Kiss smoothie at Crudessence, if you live in Montreal. I will definitely be giving their version a try in the near future.

The citrus blast from the orange and lemon combined with the sweet mango, the creaminess of the cashews, and the beautiful real vanilla flavour is magical. Guaranteed to put a smile on your face. We used a yellow mango. Make sure the mango is sweet. This can definitely make or break your smoothie.

Watch the video of Nathalie and I making the smoothie below. We had a blast making this video, and I certainly enjoyed the fruits of our labor. I hope you enjoy the video, and that you give this smoothie a try.

Let me know if you give this a try and what you think. Don’t forget to subscribe to my youtube channel to stay updated on all the new Health is Happiness videos. Many more to come in the new year.

“Sun Kiss Smoothie” Recipe

1 orange
1 mango
juice of 1 lemon (about a 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup cashews, soaked for 30 mins
1/2 vanilla pod, or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup water

Combine in an upright blender and blend until smooth. Adjust amount of water until desired consistency is obtained.

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