Belle Breakfast Challenge!

It turns out your mom was right. Breakfast IS the most important meal of the day! (And if you never heard that, I’m telling you now. Read on, and get your blenders ready!) I’m a HUGE fan of shakes in the morning, and am excited to announce The Belle Breakfast Challenge! Post your favourite breakfast shake recipe along with a photo of your concoction on our facebook page and be entered to win a $150 Sport Chek gift card!

Winners will be announced Monday, February 11, 2013! 

For more inspiration on the importance of breakfast, read on!

Studies show that people who skip breakfast are more likely to be overweight than regular breakfast eaters.
In fact, one study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology showed that skipping breakfast isn’t just associated with being overweight, but with obesity. Got your attention? Here are 5 reasons to eat breakfast like a queen.

1. Eating breakfast helps you lose weight

Eating breakfast stimulates metabolism and signals the body to start using fuel, instead of hoarding fuel.  When you skip breakfast the body goes into lockdown mode burning far fewer calories. Kick start your metabolism each morning – your waistline will thank you.
2. Breakfast is your chance to get all your nutrients

A smoothie filled with flax seeds, banana, strawberries, spinach, hemp oil and protein? You could struggle to get all that omega 3, vitamin C, iron and potassium goodness in your body with lunch and dinner, or you could enjoy a tasty shake and be done with it by 8 am!

3. You’ll have more energy

Food is energy. Eat breakfast to take on the world! Coffee doesn’t count by the way.

4. You’re less likely to cheat on your diet

Spacing your calories throughout the day at regular intervals is better than going through a starve-binge routine each day. Don’t deprive yourself of breakfast – or other meals for that matter – or you may just find yourself losing control later in the day.

5. You’ll feel smarter

Eating breakfast provides an energy boost to the brain for mid-morning alertness and performance.

Remember, post your shake recipes on the facebook page for all the see. We are bound to get some delicious and nutritious ideas!

Cleansing in the Winter!

This article comes to us compliments of Belle Instructor and Naturopathic Doctor, Julia Segal!

Should you cleanse in the winter time?

As the cold weather outside encourages us to get cozy and stay in, winter is the time of year to work on the most internal aspects of our health (and recover from the holiday indulgences!) This is a time to nourish the deepest parts: our bones, kidneys & bladder and adrenal glands. It is as good a time as any for a cleanse. However, cleansing in the winter must look very different than it would in spring, summer or fall.

What is cleansing?

The body is constantly cleansing itself in order to stay alive and function optimally. Metabolic and environmental toxins are constantly being processed by the liver and released through our skin, our lungs, our bowels and our urine. Doing a cleanse supports this process by removing the foods that keep cells and organs under heavy burden, such as sugary and sweetened foods, refined carbohydrates, fried foods and modified fats from packaged food. Some may have additional food sensitivities which may change throughout our lives. It is important to be aware of any foods that challenge your health, and a cleanse can bring these to light. Removing such food burdens allows your body to “catch up” with its work-load and regain balance.

How can this process be supported in the winter?

A cleansing diet in the winter includes high water content foods such as soup broths and cooked vegetables of all colours especially dark green. Bean and vegetable soups, chicken broths and warming herbal teas like ginger, nettle, fennel seeds, licorice and cinnamon are helpful. On the other hand, raw fruits and vegetables and other cold foods should be eaten only in small amounts during this season. Salty foods are important at this time because the minerals provided by salt benefit the kidneys and adrenal glands. Miso, umesu, sea salt and seaweeds, as well as whole grains such as millet and barley are beneficial for their mineral content. If you have high blood pressure, use salt moderately. Consuming enough protein, through lean meats, fish, eggs and legumes is essential. Warming foods like ginger, pepper, cayenne and cloves are helpful for moving circulation. Naturopathic treatment will address individual health and in winter it may include adaptogenic herbs which tonify the adrenal glands and immune system.

Mapping your cleanse

Consult your Naturopathic Doctor to learn what the best cleanse plan and supplemental supports for your body might be this season. Make it simple and remember to focus on breath and sweat, two often neglected cleansing mechanisms. Just 5 minutes of deep belly breathing each day flushes toxins from the system, rejuvenates organs and tissues, and decreases stress and anxiety.

A sweaty workout three times per week releases a surprising amount of toxins. Dry sauna, especially infrared, also helps with detoxification and fat breakdown. A cleanse done right should have you feeling clear and energetic after a few days, while also teaching you much about your body. That awareness buys you years of better health!

By: Julia Segal, Naturopathic Doctor  and Belle Method Pilates Instructor