Choosing a Non-Toxic Nail Polish

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Toxins are bad all around. I have spent the last few years removing all toxins from my beauty routine. The one area I have recently been exploring is my nail polish. Did you know that 80% of cosmetics have been linked to various environmental and health concerns such as reproduction, cancer, asthma and allergies. Toxin exposure from your beauty products may also impact your hormones. This is why I have become determined to help you find out what to look for and which brands are the best!


1. Dibutyl phthalate: this is a solvent for dyes and a plasticizer to prevent nails from breaking. It is known to be a possible endocrine disruptor meaning it can affect the hormones in your body.

2. Formaldehyde: this can be found in nail hardeners up to 5% and is known as a human carcinogen.

3. Toluene: this is known to be a skin irritant and can affect the nervous system through inhalation which may cause drowsiness, headaches and possible irritation to the respiratory tract. 

4. Tosylamide/Formaldehyde Resin: this is used to form a tough and shiny layer to your nail polish. It is a known skin allergen which may cause dermatitis.

5. Camphor: this is a plasticizer that makes your nail polish flexible after application. It may cause dizziness and headaches if inhaled.

6. Parabens: this is a preservative that can mimic estrogen in the body and cause hormonal disruption. 

7. Xylene: this is a solvent that prevents your nail polish from becoming gloppy. It is a known allergen and carcinogen. 


These nail polishes are free of the top 3 toxins 1) Dibutyl phthalate 2) Formaldehyde and 3) Toluene.
  • OPI (EWG score: 1-9)
  • Essie  (EWG score: 2-8) 
  • Butter London (EWG score: 3-7) 
  • Sally Hansen (EWG score: 3) 
  • L'Oreal Paris (EWG score: 4) 
  • Revlon (EWG score: 3-4) 

  • M.A.C.
  • Wet n' Wild (EWG score: 4-5) 
  • NARS (EWG score: 4)

BUT WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER INGREDIENTS?? These companies are "7 free" meaning they are free of all 7 toxic ingredients listed above. No EWG scores were found for these products but their sites list all ingredients. 
  • Pacifica 
  • MOOV 
  • Honey Bee Gardens 
  • Piggy Paint 
  • Scotch 

** NOTE: EWG score is from the Environmental Working Group Skin Deep toxin score.

STAY TUNED… for my review on a few "7 free" nail polish brands.


Photo credit: user "amOunaâ„¢ The Pretty Psychopath BFH" / Foter / CC BY-SA

Divine Chocolate Swirl Pumpkin Bread

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With the summer now coming to a close, and autumn in full swing, everyone starts to pull out sweaters, jackets and cozy warm socks. It is especially fun to start digging out any and all pumpkin recipes at this time of year. This pumpkin bread has a bit of a twist to it. The chocolate swirl mixed with the pumpkin celebrates the new fall season. Pumpkin not only tastes good in desserts but it is also highly packed with nutrients. Pumpkin has well over 100% of your daily recommended intake of Vitamin A. Get your boost of antioxidants while enjoying this tasty dessert!

**TIP: When buying canned pumpkin make sure the only ingredient is pumpkin!**

1 cup blanched almond flour
¼ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ tsp of pumpkin spice
½ cup roasted/canned pumpkin 
2 tablespoons honey
3 large eggs
3 tbsp Enjoy life chocolate chips
1 tsp coconut oil

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Combine almond flour, salt, baking soda and pumpkin spice in your food processor and pulse for 1 minute.
3. Next, add pumpkin, honey and eggs and continue to pulse for 2 minutes.
4. Scoop batter into a bread loaf pan.
5. Using a double boiler or microwave, melt chocolate chips until liquid forms.
6. Add teaspoon of coconut oil to thin out melted chocolate so that it is easier to pour into the bread.
7. Drizzle chocolate over the batter and then use a bread knife to swirl the chocolate.
8. Bake at 350° for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
9. Let the bread cool for 1 hour and then enjoy! 

Adapted from:

SWEET TOOTH Almond Coconut Date Delights

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2 cups of medjool dates
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 cup blanched almond flour
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 cup raw coconut flakes
1/2 cup of raw almonds
Optional: hemp seeds, chia seeds, ground pumpkin seeds, ground flax seeds

1. In a food processor, add cocoa powder, almond flour and cinnamon. Process until well combined.
2. Next, remove seeds from dates and add into food processor. Process until well combined. The mixture will look crumbly.
3. Put coconut flakes into a bowl. Scoop out a small handful of the mixture and roll into a ball.
4. Insert a whole raw almond into the center of the date ball.
5. Gently roll the date ball in the coconut flakes to coat the entire ball.


5 Tips to MAXIMIZE your SLEEP

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You’ve just finished showering, changed into your cozy pajamas and gently fallen into your warm duvet and soft mattress. You think to yourself, “Okay, time to close my eyes and get some zzzz’s.” Few minutes later you realize you have been constantly thinking about your day, the projects you need to get done and what delicious meal you will be making for dinner the next day. Suddenly your heart starts racing and you start to panic. “Why am I not sleeping yet? I need to get at least 8 hours of sleep and it’s already 1:00 am. Ah my…I am going to have some serious black eye bags tomorrow morning.” You then start staring at the wall and think, “Maybe if I count backwards I will stop thinking and fall asleep, or maybe I should get up and take something to help me sleep.” Nothing works…

Sleep is an extremely important part of our daily lives. It allows our body to replenish our energy stores and enables us to function optimally both physically and mentally. Think about it! We spend 8 hours of EACH day sleeping. That is 1/3 of your day spent sleeping. These tips can help get you started in ensuring you get the best sleep that your body deserves…

1. Disconnect from technology… It has been proven that the blue light emitted from your technology devices can impact your circadian rhythm (24 hour sleep/wake cycle). In fact, blue light signals to your body that it is morning and it’s time to wake up! Red light, on the other hand, signals your brain to shut down and find a state of relaxation. So turn off your devices to help your brain ease into sleep! 

2. Start MOVING!… Exercise is KEY! Exercise is key to optimal health. It has been shown that moderate intensity exercise can decrease the time it takes to sleep and increase the length of sleep. Exercise has a multitude of benefits as it can decrease anxiety and arousal relieving time spent thinking as you are tossing and turning. It also has a positive impact on your circadian rhythm. So get your heart pumping with a regular exercise routine to optimize your sleep! 

3. Into the dark… Make sure your room is completely dark to the point where if you were to look for your hand in front of your face you wouldn’t be able to see it because of the darkness. Ensuring your room is dark will allow for your body to find a state of relaxation and will prevent disruption in the secretion of melatonin. Melatonin is known as an internal sleep facilitator and has the ability to readjust circadian rhythm. It also maintains the circadian rhythm. 

4. Routine, routine, routine! One of the most important aspects to getting a good night sleep is ensuring you follow a daily routine. Make sure you are going to bed at the same time each night and try to wake up at the same time each morning. This will set you internal clock or circadian rhythm (24 hour sleep/wake clock).

5. Create your humble abode… It is vital that we ensure our bedrooms are set up for a relaxing retreat. Make it a rule that your bedroom is only for sleep and sexual activity. The worse thing you can do is watch TV or do work that may cause overstimulation. This can program your body to associate your bedroom with tension preventing your brain from thinking your bedroom is a relaxing sleeping space.

Sleep allows us to organize our thoughts, enhance our memory, restore the vital functions of our organs, provides us with the energy we need… I could keep on going. It is SUCH AN important part of our day. Using naturopathic medicine we can work to re-establish a foundation for sleep by starting with the basics mentioned in this article. Additional modalities can be used such as acupuncture, botanical medicine and homeopathy. Talk to your Naturopathic Doctor today to see how you can optimize your sleep. 


SUMMER'S FRESH Mung bean and Quinoa Salad

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Summer is fast approaching! So I decided to find a salad that was easy to make and tasted really fresh. I discovered this tasty salad last week while I was trying to find something that I can make in bulk and eat for a couple of days. This recipe is a time saver. Make it on Sunday and it will last you for a couple of days!

I discovered my love for mung beans while at CCNM. Mung beans are a good source of protein, B vitamins, iron and dietary fiber. If you are looking for foods that are have a low glycemic load, mung beans are an EXCELLENT choice.

For the salad:
1 cup dry mung beans
1/2 cup dry (uncooked) quinoa
1 finely chopped cucumber
2 finely chopped bell peppers
1/2 a cup finely chopped red onion
2 medium sized avocados, chopped into cubes
1 finely chopped organic apple
handful of cilantro, roughly chopped
salt and pepper to taste

For the dressing: 
2 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp chilli powder
1/4 tsp paprika
salt and pepper to taste

1. Prepare the mung beans by adding one cup of mung beans to a pot and cover with 2 inches of water. Once the water comes to boil, cover and set to simmer for 45 minutes. Cook until mung beans are soft. 
2. Prepare the quinoa by adding 1/2 cup of quinoa and 1 cup of water to a pot. Once the water comes a boil, cover and set to simmer for 15 minutes. Let the quinoa sit after it is cooked and fluff with a fork. 
3. While the mung beans and quinoa are cooking. Start chopping the cucumber, bell peppers, red onion, apple and avocados. 
4. Prepare the dressing by combining the lemon juice, olive oil, cumin powder, chilli powder, paprika, salt and pepper.
5. Once you are done cooking the mung beans and quinoa, combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl.
6. Lastly, add the dressing to the salad and ENJOY!

Recipe adapted from:

Top 10 Tips on Travelling to India

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I recently went on a school trip to India where we visited a homeopathy school in Mumbai called The Other Song. We also had the opportunity to spend a week sightseeing all over India. We went to New Delhi, Agra, Jaipur and Goa. It was one of the most amazing experiences I have had thus far!

Overall, the trip was everything I expected and more. I learned a great deal of information and was able to truly experience the Indian culture. The people were really friendly, the food was incredibly delicious and most of all I learned that India will always be a part of me.

Before going to India we did quite a bit of planning and researching. I had read a lot of blogs and websites in order to prepare myself for the trip. After experiencing India myself, here are some tips for people travelling to India for the first time.


1. Pack a light bag, and buy clothes there!

I didn't pack very many clothes. I ended up buying Kurti tops while I was there. I blended in more and felt very comfortable. Dressing more conservatively was key to fitting in! Make sure to bring pants, a couple of t-shirts, two pairs of shoes and two shawls.

2. Make sure to bargain!
We were told that if the shop owners know you are not a local they will double or triple the price. Counter with less than 60% of the price and then work your way up to the amount you are willing to pay. Usually simply starting to leave the shop will entice the owner to lower the prices to make sure you don't leave empty handed.

3. Check your water bottles
Make sure that the water bottle seal is closed and there have been no signs of tampering. We were told that sometimes water bottles are resealed with tap water and resold.

4. Bring ear plugs!
It can get really loud outside. Having my ear plugs ensured I was able to get a good night's sleep!

5. Carry toilet paper everywhere you go
Most of the public bathrooms did not have toilet paper so we made sure to carry our own.

6. Stay hydrated
I brought an electrolyte powder and drank one packet each day. It was great because it kept me hydrated and I got my daily dose of vitamins as well! If I didn't have my electrolyte powder I had fresh coconut water on the streets of India for 40 rupees (~$0.80 CDN) :)

7. Delhi Belly is for real
Yup, traveller's diarrhea can happen. But there are a few things you can do to prevent it from happening to you. Make sure not to eat any raw vegetables or fruits without skin. I stuck to bananas, papaya, pineapple and mangos. Try and eat cooked food for every meal.

8. Set up a hotel pick up
Most hotels offer a hotel pick up from the airport. When booking your hotel, make sure to indicate your flight number and arrival time. Also, make sure to determine if the shuttle is complimentary or not. Usually there will be someone from the hotel holding a sign with your name at the airport to pick you up. We also got our hotel to call the next hotel we were going to to ensure someone was coming to pick us up.

9. Bring your supplements! 
I brought quite a few supplements with me to India. Some of the key supplements I would recommend to bring are a traveller's probiotic (one that you do not have to refrigerate), Vitamin B, Vitamin C and grapefruit seed extract. The grapefruit seed extract was great to use when I felt kind of bad after eating food I was not used to. But I also used it to clean my water bottle and toothbrush on occasion since it is a natural antiseptic.

10. Last but not least - GO WITH THE FLOW!
India can be very chaotic and there were times where nothing went exactly as planned. There were delays, miscommunication and sometimes no rules. Be patient, take one thing at a time and go with the flow. Find ways to deal with situations but never let anyone take advantage of you. Keep in mind there are times where you may need to stand up for yourself and be assertive. Overall, have fun and don't take anything personal.

My Kombucha Journey

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When I first heard the word “kombucha” I was quite puzzled. Sounds a little funky, right? I decided to find out for myself what kombucha was, exactly. Originating in Northeast China, kombucha is a fermented tea, which comes from a Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast known as a SCOBY. Sounds a little more odd, but stay with me! Consuming fermented foods can have a multitude of benefits on your gut, including balancing your gut flora. Kombucha is known to be helpful to the gut because it contains 40 different strains of good bacteria and yeast.

Now, it may sound a bit weird to be drinking bacteria, but kombucha is a natural probiotic drink. Our gut is made up of trillions of good and bad bacteria. Probiotics are known as good bacteria, which work to coat the lining of your intestines and stop harmful bacteria from entering the body. Probiotics are considered to help maintain our immune system and help digest food. It’s important to ingest probiotics regularly as once their job is finished they are excreted through your bowel. A daily dose of probiotics will help to ensure you support the beneficial bacteria in your gut!

During the process of brewing kombucha, the SCOBY will feed on the caffeinated tea and sugar thereby creating a delicious nutritional drink loaded with beneficial bacteria (aka probiotics), B vitamins and antioxidants. After hearing the benefits and noticing all my friends drinking it, I decided to take the plunge and give it a taste. It wasn't too bad after all! Its unique taste comes from the combination of fizz and sweet flavoring from fruits. Store bought kombucha can be quite expensive, so making it at home can save you some money! The great thing about making your own kombucha is that you can experiment with the taste by adding various fruits and it’s a healthy and cost effective beverage you can enjoy on the regular. 

My friend Aglaée Jacob got me started on this healthy kombucha journey, whom I am very thankful for! Check out her website at

1) SCOBY and 1/2 cup of Kombucha from a previous batch
2) Organic Cane Sugar
3) Organic Green Tea
4) 1 Litre Jar
5) Wooden spoon
6) Elastic band
7) Measuring cups
8) 1/2 cup of fresh fruit
9) Strainer

 Step 1: Add 1/4 cup of Organic Cane Sugar to your 1 litre Mason Jar.

Step 2: Boil hot water and add some to the jar. Shake the jar until the cane sugar has dissolved completely. Then add more hot water until the jar is 3/4 full.

Step 3. Include two tea bags of Organic Green Tea in your jar and let the tea steep for 20-30 minutes and then remove tea bags.

Step 4: Allow the tea to cool to room temperature. This is important, as you do not want to add the SCOBY to hot tea.

Step 5: Once it has cooled down to room temperature. Add 1/2 cup of a previous batch of kombucha plus the SCOBY. Make sure to always handle the SCOBY with a clean wooden spoon or your hands.

Step 6: Secure the top of the jar with paper towel and an elastic band. The SCOBY needs some oxygen to live and the paper towel will help prevent anything from entering.

Step 7: After placing the SCOBY into the tea, let it live quietly on a counter top at room temperature for between 9-20 days. After a couple of days it will smell a little tangy. At day 9, taste the tea. If it isn't sweet anymore you know it is ready. The longer you leave it to ferment the more sour it will become, eventually turning into a vinegar-like taste.

Step 8: You should now see two SCOBY's near the top of your jar. Once you feel like it is ready to drink. Remove both SCOBY's and place them into another jar and submerge them in some kombucha so that they can live.

Flavouring your Kombucha
Step 1: Flavour your new kombucha batch with 1/2 cup of fresh or frozen fruit (i.e. berries, pineapple, mangoes, peaches, etc.). Secure the top of your jar with your jar lid (instead of the paper towel). Let the new batch sit at room temperature for about 1-2 days.
Below is a picture of my mango and crystallized ginger kombucha!

Step 2: Strain the kombucha to remove the fruit and any yeast particles. Store your newly made kombucha in the fridge and enjoy regularly!

Step 3: Use new SCOBY and previous SCOBY to start two new batches of kombucha!