• RECIPE: Back-to-School Granola

    Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 11.03.25 AMSeptember is here and that means back-to-school (hopefully) for kids and teachers.  Mornings are going to look a little different with new routines and perhaps earlier wake-ups.  Make the most of your morning time with simple, healthy breakfasts that will keep your whole family fuelled for the day.  I love granola.  But that store bought stuff can contain heaps of processed sugars and making your own tastes so much better!  This healthy granola has chia seeds for a burst of omega-3s and lots of nuts and seeds for protein.  Top with fresh seasonal fruit and you’re good to go!

    Back-to-School Granola:

    • 2 1/2 cups Rolled Oats
    • 1/2 cup Whole hazelnuts
    • 1/2 cup Pumpkin seeds
    • 1/4 cup Shredded coconut
    • 1/4 cup Almond slivers
    • 3 Tbs Chia seeds (a few tablespoons)
    • Dried Apricots to taste (I used 1/4 cup, rough chopped)
    • 3-4 Tbs Coconut oil 
    • 2-4 Tbs Maple syrup (to taste… less if you like it less sweet)
    • Dash of Himalayan sea salt

    Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix it up.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread granola evenly on the pan.  Bake until your kitchen smells amazing, about 30-35mins.

    Top with almond milk or yogurt and fresh fruit.  Enjoy!



  • Should I Exercise During Pregnancy?

    Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 10.13.42 AMPregnancy is a huge landmark in one’s life.  It is an experience that changes not only your life but your body and soul.  The wonderful women that I have the opportunity to work with at Premier Personal Training have chosen to make the most of the experience and use it to improve their fitness and health.  Being fit enough to enjoy the bundle of joy who will soon be a huge part of your life is a very powerful motivator to make changes or step up your fitness program.

    When women come in to see me, they often wonder if they should exercise during their
    pregnancy and the answer is absolutely!  Research has shown that women who actively engage in exercise have a more comfortable pregnancy and may have a shorter labor and less need for medical interventions.  Other studies have shown that women who exercise regularly, prior to and during the first and second trimesters, feel better in the third trimester and perceive less exertion during labor.  Furthermore, regular exercise during pregnancy will help to prevent lower back pain, keep your weight at a safe level and speed up your weight loss after the pregnancy.

    I encourage my clients to look at pregnancy and giving birth as a physical event that they are preparing their bodies for.  Just like any activity, having a strong and balanced body will allow you to perform better, feel more confident and enjoy a more positive experience.
    My Pre-Natal training systems begin with a Functional Movement Screen to identify left-right side imbalances and mobility-stability issues.  This allows me to create a program that is 100% specific to the beautiful woman who has come to see me. I then apply scientifically proven prenatal exercise principals developed by the National Academy of Sports Medicine, one of the leading athletic educational bodies in North America, to ensure safety and optimize results.

    Investing the time during your pregnancy to stay fit also pays off in the post-natal recovery
    period.  It ensures fewer complications and makes it easier to shed baby weight. No matter what stage of their pregnancy, my clients exceed their fitness goals and turn their pregnancy into a wonderful opportunity to reveal their potential.

    Christina Longo operates Premier Personal Training in Kitsilano, Vancouver. For more
    information, please contact;
    778 846 4185

  • Supporting Post Partum Health with Traditional Chinese Medicine

    Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 9.23.38 AMCongratulations! You’ve just given birth and are settling in to your new life with this precious little being by your side.  You spent all those months  taking care of your health and planning for the birth, but rather than feeling elated and ready to re-enter the outside world, you’re deeply fatigued, not sleeping well and noticing extreme fluctuations in your mood…. If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone.

    In our goal oriented culture that is constantly looking toward the next achievement, giving birth can seem like the culmination of much anticipation and effort.  However, as many new parents find out, it’s really just the beginning. In those early days and weeks, many of us feel unprepared for all that is asked of us. After such an incredible transformation, our bodies and our lives can seem unfamiliar and time is needed to adjust and settle in to our new reality.  From a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) perspective, this is a critical period in which to focus upon rebuilding one’s physical body and rebalancing one’s energetic system that will not only alleviate acute symptoms, but support long term health.

    Acupuncture and TCM have a long history of supporting women’s health through all stages of life.  With its recent popularization, there is greater awareness of how acupuncture, herbs and moxabustion (and other therapies) help to promote healthy pregnancies (by alleviating pain, reducing labour duration and improving birthing outcomes to name a few). However, it’s beneficial role in supporting a woman through her post-partum period has largely remained unknown.

    In TCM, the post partum period (30-100 days) is seen as a time to focus upon the new mother’s recovery; physically, emotionally and energetically.  Good nutrition, ample rest and maintaining warmth are key recommendations. Moderating exertion and stress are also vitally important.  Historically, a woman would take a minimum of one month rest wherein her only responsibility was to satisfy the needs of her baby.  All other household and familial tasks were taken care of by other community members.  Although this may not be available to most women today, the aim of rehabilitation remains the priority.

    Chinese Medicine takes a long term view to health and wellness and argues that, the degree to which a woman takes care of herself (and is taken care of) during this period has a direct effect on her continued health; even influencing her experience of menopause.

    There is a long list of possible symptoms a new mother may experience after the birth of her child.  The following is a sample of post-partum conditions effectively treated by TCM:

    poor appetite and/or digestion
    night sweating
    hair loss
    persistent bleeding
    insufficient lactation
    depression and anxiety
    insomnia or difficulties with sleep

    TCM has developed over the centuries with a multi-faceted approach to treatment for post partum health. I use the therapies of Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine, Diet Therapy, Moxabustion, Cupping, Tuina and Qi Gong to support my clients.  These modalities each have their own particular benefit and when used together they have a powerful synergistic effect for healing.

    Acupuncture is used to build qi (energy) and blood, remove stagnation and rebalance the energetic system. Herbal Medicine formulas are individually crafted and have been used for millennia to support the varied needs of new mothers.  Using food as medicine (Diet Therapy) is one of the key aspects to assist during post partum recovery. The suggested diet includes foods that are warm, cooked, easy to digest and nutritionally dense.  Foods to be avoided that are more taxing on the digestive system are raw, cold or frozen. (For more information on postnatal dietary health…click here)
    Additionally, Moxabustion is a therapy utilizing an herb called Mugwort (Ai Ye/Artemisia Vulgaris) which is heated and used to warm specific areas of the body.  Post-partumly, this treatment is called, ‘Mother Warming’ and speeds recovery by dispelling cold, removing stagnation and generating energy.

    As the mother of two children, I can personally attest to the amazing support offered by Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine both, pre and post-natally.  I welcome pregnant women and new parents alike to experience how TCM may benefit them at this exciting and demanding time of life.

    Be well.

    Lesley Ormiston is a Registered Practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine (R.TCMP) and a Certified Yoga Teacher.  She brings 15 years of experience in helping individuals and families lead more vital lives.  We are very excited to welcome Lesley to the Soma Team!  www.lesleyormiston.com