Blue Sky Brain

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One of the benefits of working at Vitamin King is that we get to do product training sessions which end up being life training session. The latest Purica training with Jason Watkin was one of those trainings that left the participants excited about life and wellness.

Jason is a super energetic individual who radiates excitement and enthusiasm about life. Jason inspires his listeners to learn more, be more and live more! He has had more adventures and experiences in his life than many people could achieve in a couple life times. One of his many adventures was studying eastern religion. This is where he came across the idea of a blue sky brain. 

 A blue sky brain is achieved when your thoughts rise above the clouds. 

 Imagine a mid-winter, super cloudy day. One of those winter days where no one can even remember what the sun looks like? 

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Imagine, on one of these days getting on an airplane, as you gain elevation there is a break in the clouds. All of a sudden, blue sky is everywhere. 

Down on the ground, things looked so grey and dismal but when you moved through the clouds, you found the blue sky. 

The blue sky was there all the time. You just couldn’t see it because of the clouds getting in the way. 
This is what it can feel like to suddenly stop all those thoughts and worries that swirl around our brains. From clouded, foggy, stressed brain to clear focused blue sky brain! Can you imagine??! 

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 Jason talked about achieving this through meditation and mindfulness and also through supplementation, which is nothing new or revolutionary. 

 What was unique was the undeniable connection that Jason made between stress and disease development. Stress is said to be the new killer. Jason concluded that it is not just stress but a lack of a clear, calm brain which created un-wellness and disease. 

Here is a little background about the stress response:

Our bodies operate in the fight or flight, or in the rest, digest and recovery mode, also known as sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system responses. 

In fight or flight (sympathetic nervous system response) our body works to get away from the real or perceived danger as fast as possible. This results in increased heart rate and increased blood flow away from the core (and digestion) to the limbs to help a person prepare to fight or take flight. There is also a spike in stress hormones which effects a number of functions including blood sugar levels and blood pressure. When the body is in rest, digest and recover mode (parasympathetic nervous system response) the body can focus on immunity, disease prevention, repair of the tissues, digestion and other functions that keeps us alive and healthy long term.  The body systems suffer from functioning for long periods of time in fight or flight. Many people are in this mode all day, every day and even as they sleep. Human bodies are not meant to stay in fight or flight for long. Results of this are that people wake up feeling exhausted, they get sick more, and are not able to recover from injuries. Other symptoms can be digestive complaints, bowel irregularities and hormone imbalances. During fight or flight, cells break down at a faster rate and a myriad of symptoms follow. One of the most all encompassing is an increase rate of aging. These symptoms can include bone deterioration, wrinkles, muscle atrophy, decreased mobility and an increase rate of disease. These are all things that we would like to avoid. There is nothing wrong with aging, but I hope to age with grace and wellness rather than weakness and disease. We can change our experience of health by simply slowing down the brain and thus slowing down the aging process.  Think of a blue sky brain as the best antioxidant you can give your body!

At the end of the day, we all have stressors in our life and that is unavoidable, it is how we respond to these stressors that change how we feel and ultimately how our body functions.

Imagine Your Health With a Blue Sky Brain!

Book Now to Work with Me Towards a Blue Sky Brain

More about Live and Layered Cell Analysis

The Goal

Through the holistic process of intake forms and cell analysis we can determine potential imbalances such as bowel inflammation, adrenal stress, and degenerative diseases. Together we will find the tools which bring you to a place of balance and wellness. 

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What to expect

The appointment begins with an intake form that looks at nutrition, lifestyle, stress level, support systems, sleep, poop (yes, we talk about poop a lot), history and much more. 

I gather background information to get a complete picture of your over-all health and well-being as well as the goals you wish to achieve. 

I collect a sample of blood for the live analysis on a glass slide and also collect 8 small drops of blood, which are left exposed to oxygen to dry for the layered analysis. 

After viewing the red and white blood cells under the high-powered microscope I am able to see potential mineral and vitamin deficiencies, potential toxicity, levels of dehydration, pH balance, food or environmental sensitivities, possible parasitic activity and many other potential conditions. 

For the layered analysis we view the dried sample for toxins and areas of possible inflammation or imbalance. The pattern we see gives us clues to what might be going on in the body. 

Our Garden

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The picture of the cells is like a picture of our internal garden. We want the correct amount of supportive nutrients for the growth to flourish. 

Every garden is unique and each plant needs its own unique nourishment. So does your unique body. This nourishment includes food but also the nourishment of relaxation, sleep, social interactions and possible supplementation. With support and the right tools, your garden can recuperate and regrow. Your body wants to be healthy and balanced. 

If you are ready to take the journey which allows you to flourish, contact me to ensure that your garden is in full bloom. 

How I work with you:

Together we establish what imbalances are inhibiting your overall wellness. I will create you a plan that includes nutritional and lifestyle adjustments, which support your unique biochemistry and assist you in reestablishing your natural internal balance and wellness. 

You will learn to listen to the messages your body sends you and discover your individual needs for optimal wellness. I provide you with the tools and support you need to achieve your goals for health. 

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More than just a Yogi


When I first went to Natasha Scott's prenatal yoga class more than 2 years ago I felt, for one of the first times, that I may be able to find 'my people' in Penticton. I had found some of my people in the lovely ladies at Vitamin King but I still sometimes felt that I wanted more community, more of a support network.

I didn't just get pregnant to make friends but I did really hoped that through pregnancy I would meet some like minded people and create a larger network. Little did I know how transitional this class would be for me. Natasha creates a space of warmth love and caring and I was privileged enough to be able to attended weekly classes from about 10 weeks pregnant, every Friday, until Jaxton was born. What I gained from this class was so much more than flexIblity, breath and movement. I gained knowledge about pregnancy, the birthing process, support systems in town, and postpartum tips. But more than all that I gained confidence as a mother, and I gained a life long community of women and families. The women I met at Natasha's yoga class become my close support circle and these women are still who I call on two years later. Although our lives may be busy between work, family and busy toddlers, we know that we are there for support and connection when it's needed. The children of these moms also happen to be some of Jaxton's favourite little people. 

One of the few clear memories that I have of first being in the hospital is when I was first admitted to maternity in hopes of keeping Jaxton and I together, when we first realized I needed more mental health support. I don't know how Natasha came to be there but I remember turning over in a dark hospital room and seeing Natasha snuggling Jaxton. I had this overwhelming feeling that everything was going to be okay. It was a moment of peace among the chaos and something that I will remember forever. I am so grateful for that beautiful memory among so many other memories of that time that are less than clear and less than peaceful. 

When I return to yoga for my second pregnancy, I was very excited to have this quiet time to relax toddler free. I didn't start until later in pregnancy because I had not made time for this important self-care. I knew that Natasha had been exploring many different avenues of training and she had also opened her own studio but what I didn't expect is that Natasha had also grown so much as a instructor. The first class I attended, I remember thinking, how does something that good, get even better. Like a fine wine that just gets better with age, except that Natasha doesn't seem older just more vibrant, wise and even more youthful. She is like a beautiful flower that you thought had bloomed it's most beautiful full bloom and then it bursts with an even more exceptional blossom. I could go on and on about her incredible spirit but if you have met her, I'm sure you feel this too.  If you have not experienced Natasha's contagious laughter, her soft warm presence and her talented teaching style, you could seek her out. She is truly a gem in this community and I am so grateful to have her as part of my community.

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The Assembly Line

Did you know that every Red Blood Cell in your body goes through a production line where all the essential ingredients are added?

Imagine it's like a professional kitchen where the chef's are creating your next tasty meal at your favourite restaurant (I know the best small restaurants don't have assembly line kitchens but just bear with me;)
Some of the essential nutrients to red blood cell formation include folic acid, iron and B12. If these ingredients are missing in the body the red blood cell 'meal' is less than complete. 
The red blood cell will still be created but it will be less than optimal and therefore will not function at its maximum capacity. 
If your meal at the restaurant came, and ingredients were missing, you might be a little upset or disappointed. You may or may not complain about the missing ingredients, or maybe you don't even notice this missing ingredients because you are so focused on eating the meal. 
Your body is the same; all of the ingredients are crucial to optimal functioning. But you may not notice something is missing. Maybe you just feel like things are not quite right but your not sure why. You can't put your finger on what is missing. 

In Live and Layered Cell analysis, we are able to look at the cells under a high powered microscope and see how the red blood cells are functioning. Did they get all the ingredients they need to be functioning at their highest potential? 

Curious? Want to know more?
Give me a call or book an appointment to see how nutritional consultation with live and layered cell analysis can ensure your living your life which is full of flavour and all the essential ingredients. 
See for contact details. 250-809-5594


What is Live and Layered Cell Analysis? And who is a Microscopist?

I have been working out of Transformative Health in West Kelowna as a Registered Holistic Nutritionist for over a year now (along with my practice in Penticton). When I first started there, Stacey, one of the owners asked me if I would be interested in learning Live and Layered Blood Analysis. Even though I did not know much about this modality, it was an automatic Yes. As I researched more, looked at schools, talked to people and over analyzed, I began to question if this was the road that I wanted to take. Not because I did not see value in the practice, I did see value, but I was afraid to commit to something new and different. I was afraid to invest more in school and I over-thought the whole thing. 

After going around in circles, trying make a decision, I was reminded again and again of my instant gut reaction to Stacey when she asked me. Knowing very little about the practice, my gut told me Yes! It was only when I let my analytical brain take over that I began to question investing in this modality. If undertaking a new adventure, I do think it is important to consider if it is something that you really want to do. You can weigh out the pros and the cons, think about where it might take you in the future and try to predict if it is the 'right' decision. But really are we ever to know where a decision might take us, is there really a 'right' and 'wrong' decision? I think that we don't really know where a path might take us and there is not really any 'right' or 'wrong' decisions. My parents always encouraged me to educate myself even if just for the purpose of knowledge. So I followed my gut and registered at Health House in Toronto.
In June 2017, my family and I set out for Toronto for the intensive 5 day training and a family vacation (my husband so kindly informed me that if I was going to do more school, he was coming with me for the holiday!;)

I spent 5 full days at the school with a variety of practitioners learning about live and layered cell analysis as well as learning how to use a specialized high powered microscope. These 5 days tested my brain but everything I learned made so much sense and felt like a natural addition to my practice.

Let's take a little step back from the training for a moment-----Since becoming a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, I have learned that I am the type of practitioner that wants more proof. I don't just want to say to clients, use this product because somebody said it was good. I don't want to tell clients to stop using chemicals on their bodies because a Facebook post said so; I want more proof. I want research, statistics and concrete evidence behind my recommendations. Sometimes this can be a frustrating task because, if you dig for it, you can always find someone that disagrees or tries to discredit research. There are so many differing opinions that it can be very confusing for the general public as well as for many practitioners.
What I discovered was that Live and Layered Cell Analysis offered me a tool that I had been searching for. This tool allows client and practitioner to look at the messages that the body is sending us. It give us, as a team, a guide for our health goals. It is a tool to educate the client and practitioner about how the body is behaving and what factors may be contributing to dis-ease and imbalance. 

I will say this here and I will say it again in all consultations; this method is not a diagnostic tool, it is not the same as a traditional blood test that you would receive from a lab. Those test are useful for determining many things. Live and Layered Cell Analysis is not a better tool, it is a different tool. 

So what does an appointment look for Live and Layered Cell Analysis look like?
It begins with an in-depth intake form that looks at nutrition, lifestyle, stress level, support systems, sleep, poop (yes we talk about poop a lot), history and so much more. This is to gather background information to give us a complete picture of your over health and well being as well as the goals you wish to achieve. After reviewing your forms, I perform a capillary puncture on the finger with a tool similar to what diabetics would take an insulin sample with. This does not hurt, it feels like a small mosquito bite with out the horrible itching afterwards.
I collect a sample of blood for the live analysis, on a glass slide, which is covered so it is not exposed to oxygen. I also collect 8 small drops of blood which are left exposed to oxygen to dry for the layered analysis. 
For the live analysis, we view the red and white blood cells under the high powered microscope looking for abnormalities in cell structure and behaviour that may point us to imbalances in the body. For the layered analysis we view the dried sample for toxins and areas of possible inflammation or imbalance. While the sample dries, different toxins spin out to areas of the sample depending on their weight and this gives us clues to what might be going on in the body. Through the holistic process of intake forms and cell analysis we can determine imbalances such as bowel inflammation, adrenal stress, and the potential for degenerative disease. Again, this is not a diagnostic tool. 
I loved how a teacher at the school described this practice; It can give the client and practitioner an idea about how the terrain in the body is functioning. It is like a picture of our garden. We want healthy soil for the plants to grow. We want just the right about of the right nutrients for the growth to flourish. If there is too much sun and not enough water, our garden could suffer. Every garden in unique and each plant needs its own unique nourishment. So does our body; Every body is unique, each body needs specific nourishment to flourish. This nourishment includes food but also the nourishment of relaxation, sleep, social interactions and support. Just because there is a dry spell in the garden, or some undesirable substance gets into the garden, doesn't mean that its all over for the garden. With support and the right tools, the garden can recuperate and regrow.

This is what we can do together. Our bodies want to be well and healthy. Our bodies are constantly striving to bring us back to a place of homeostasis. Sometimes they just need a little help. If you want to take the journey to allow yourself to flourish, contact me and we will ensure that your terrain is supportive to wellness and health. 
If you have any questions about this new modality that I am adding to my practice, please do not hesitate to give me a call or send me an email. I would love to hear from you. 
To book an appointment, please contact the clinic at or call 250-707-0222 (we don't have an online booking system so we are able to direct clients and answer any questions when client is booking). 

Your Local Passionate Health Specialist, Microscopist, Live and Layered Cell Analysts, I hope to hear from you soon. 

My Journey - Part 2 - Anxiety Stomps In

I hadn’t experienced anxiety until I had my first child in 2015 at the age of 33.

I was no stranger to mental health challenges as mental illness runs through my family. Depression, mania and bipolar were all part of my life growing up as well as the battle with medication. (Anxiety was something that I was not so familiar with.) My mom was not a believer in medication for these conditions and she struggled through, managing the best she could without support of medication but choosing instead alternative care. In hindsight, she now wishes she would have accepted medication sooner because the right medication, along with all the other tools she still uses, has enriched her life.

I had decided in my late teens, that I was not going to go down the same path as my family. I was going to choose something different. I was not going to suffer from mental health challenges. For most of my life, this outlook stuck. I was able to be well and healthy using my own tools of exercise and social support. I have always been a person that worries and thinks a lot, and sometimes I get down but I never felt it was depression or abnormal mental health.

My first post of ‘My Journey’ tells of my experience with depression before getting pregnant. This is the rest of my story:

I had a beautiful pregnancy; I was one of those moms that loved being pregnant. While I was pregnant, I felt better than I had for a long time. My husband and I were very excited to meet our new little person but soon after Jaxton’s arrival, my mental health started to decline. 

It’s hard to say when things really took a turn but I think that it started with not sleeping and then getting numerous panic attacks throughout each day and night. The biggest problem was that I didn’t know what was happening. Being a new parent, we did not know what was normal. We called in some support from the Doula team, Midwives and family. I even went to emergency a couple times to try and get some support and was sent away with a prescription for medication that I did not fill.

Two weeks after Jaxton was born, my family and friends teamed together and spent the day convincing me that I needed to be admitted to the hospital. I was very resistant but they eventually got me to the hospital where I was admitted to the maternity ward so Jaxton and I could still be together.

After two horrible nights in maternity, the staff quickly realized that I needed more support and I was moved to the psychiatric ward, where I was not able to be with Jaxton. I was diagnosed with postpartum psychosis, which is a very rare condition that affects 1-2 in 1000 women.

Three weeks later, after much support, medication intervention and rest, I was able to return home to my family. The road to recovery had just begun as I was still on a lot of medication and had much healing to do. With the support of family and friends and my own determination, I was able to wean myself off most of the medication and come to a place of wellness. I would never have been able to do this without the amazing support of my community and most of all, the loving kindness and patience of my husband, Jason.

There is obviously a lot more to this story and I am always open to answering questions for anyone that wants to know more. I tell this story because I strongly believe that people need to talk about these dark times and let others know that they are not alone. I tell this story too because, through my healing I became motivated to help people who struggle with anxiety to find a place of balance in their life, however that may look.

My wellness has many aspects: food, lifestyle, social connections, sleep, movement and medication. What the medication allows me is a place where my head is above water and I do not have to work so hard to be well. I am not saying it is easy. I choose to be on a very low dose medication so I still need to do many other things to keep myself well. But the medication is like having a paddle in your boat as you are trying to paddle up stream rather than just trying to paddle with your hands; it’s a tool that makes navigating the stream of life a little easier. 

Thank you for taking time to read this story. If you or someone you know has had experience with anxiety and would like to share to ask questions, always feel free to contact me. Have a beautiful day and Be Well. 

My Journey - Part 1

Each of us has come through life on a certain path to reach the point that we are at now and this journey defines who we are in this moment. For me the journey to becoming a nutritionist was a winding path and I would have never expected to end up here but yet am not surprised to be here at all because it feels so Right. 

When I was growing up I knew I wanted to work in the field of helping people. Straight out of high school I attended Mount Royal College (now Mount Royal University) in Calgary to complete my Social work Diploma. After two years of study I took a break to travel and complete an international work placement in England. It was here in Bournemouth, England that I first became more of a vegetarian.

Now to back up a little, I grew up on 'healthy food'. My parents believed in the 'white evils' (evil white bread, sugar, milk..... very uncommon in the '80s) so we drank soy milk (for which my mom still apologizes, as we didn't know any better at the time), we ate tofu, some meat, fish, legumes and lots of veggies. I would go to friends houses for sleepovers and, for breakfast, I would get biggest bowl and fill it with all the sugary cereal I could. Jujubes were my absolute weakness and licorice too (not the good kind). My childhood best friend still reminds me that I told her that we had a rule in our house that you had to eat black licorice (that I had asked my parents to buy because it was more healthy) before you got any red licorice (which was a very rare treat in our house). She is still convinced that this was my evil plan to torture her. 

I was exposed to fairly 'healthy' food at home but sought out sweets wherever I could. My husband still blames this imbalance for my continued loved for sweets (yes I still love candy and do eat it, I might be a nutritionist but we all have our vices). In my early teens I became obsessed with my weight (as so many young girls do). I was bigger than most of my friends, what some people called big boned (I still Hate that phrase because I thought/think it was the polite way of calling me fat). I loved food but wanted to be more like my size 2 best friend. I skipped breakfast, ate bagels and cream cheese for lunch (because I thought that was healthy). Dinners were probably pretty good as I don't remember being too restrictive while eating with my family (NOTE: This was probably a saviour for me to have this family meal time when it was possible. I strongly believe that sitting down as a family for meals whenever possible is So very important for shaping healthy eating patterns).  Somewhere during this time I began eating less meat (only chicken and fish) because I thought it was going to make me skinnier. I continued through adolescence hating my body, and obsessing about food. I thankfully discovered physical activity, first swimming, then running and other gym activities which I latched onto as another way to control my weight. 

Skip forward to my time abroad in England in 2003.... I had gotten a job in a care home working with adults with special needs. One of our tasks was cooking meals. I had to relearn how to cook because my veggies were always too crunchy and my dishes too spicy/or too flavourful (it is true what they say about Traditional English food.... they like it mushy and bland, although I also had some of the best Indian food while in England). I also had the experience of cooking a full chicken for the first time in my life. (We helped cook a lot at home but this had never been something that I had done). Taking the giblets out was a bit much for me and I decided at, that pivotal moment, that if I could not cook it, I shouldn't eat it. It only made sense to become a full vegetarian so I eliminated fish as well. I continued to struggle with weight, control my food, and obsess about my body, which, I know now, is such a common story for so many women. My weight fluctuated, I tried diet pills, and even tried to make myself sick after eating. I don't know if I was not determined enough to make myself sick or if my body just knew this was not a good thing, but I was never able to 'successfully' become bulimic and for this I am forever grateful. All this time I continued to find respite in exercise which has continued to be a saving grace in so many aspects of my life. 

Controlling food, obsessing about weight, and striving for the perfect body continued. I never had regular bowel movements, my skin flared up with acne on and off, I experienced cramping, bloating and terrible gas. I was moody, and stressed, and ate when I was bored, when I was upset and when I was not hungry then felt guilty for eating. Many times after eating, I was uncomfortable and it was not until traveling with my husband-to-be, Jason, that he pointed out to me that this was really not that normal. But I had never known any different and did not have the tools or knowledge or determination to change the situation. 

Before I got married I discovered hot yoga and a restrictive diet weight loss program which took me to my lowest weight ever. People told me, for the most part, that I looked great! Although there were some people, especially those that had known me a while, that thought this was not a healthy weight for me. I was still not satisfied with my weight and still did not believe people when they said that I was tiny. Life carried on and when I stopped the restrictive weight loss program the weight slowly came back. (The hot yoga piece of the puzzle I do think also played a part in this weight loss and yoga continues to be something that is so very important for Balance in my life).

After Jason and I got married, we moved to Penticton and I started working in a preschool (I had also taken my schooling for Early Childhood Education). After over 2 years at the preschool, trying desperately to find my place in Penticton, I became very depressed and chose to try antidepressants. I took a summer off work to try and get myself well and discovered the girls at Vitamin King.

During this time when we were first in Penticton I sought out Lisa Kilgour, a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, for help with my digestive complaints. Although I only saw her for 1 or 2 appointments, she opened my eyes to the unhealthy relationship that I had with food and suggested that I begin to eat more Real food and rely less on shakes (part of the diet weight loss program that I had become obsessed with and continued to included in my everyday meals). For the first time someone took the time to explain the importance of preparing food with love and care. The process of preparing food prepares our body to consume the food (something we loose when we throw some processed powder in a blender and drink it mindlessly on the run). Little did I know at that time, that I myself would become a R.H.N.

 While working at Vitamin King I slowly began regaining confidence and wellness in body and mind. I learned so much about natural supplements and was soon able to stop taking antidepressants thanks to a natural product designed to support mental health. This process happened slowly over time. I saw a counsellor, a naturopath, and a physiotherapist as well as working very hard to developing the community that I was so longing for. A coworker, Devyn, talked to me about this school that she really wanted to attend which specialized in natural nutrition, Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. I was craving a new beginning and low and behold there was a school just opening in Kelowna that September. I jumped at the chance and thus began my journey as a nutritionist. I continued working at Vitamin King and attended the CSNN for the one year fast track program. The content was very interesting and I met many people who had come on very different paths to find themselves in the program. I learned how common my issues were and began to see how my digestion (or lack there of) was affecting my whole body and how my how my whole lifestyle was affecting my digestion and my relationship with food. I was taught about Disordered eating which is a recently recognized diagnosis for a very common issue which was so very familiar to me. 

Over this time at school I did not make any dramatic changes in my diet as some might have done. I soaked up the knowledge and continued to eat a fairly balanced vegetarian diet while focusing on making small changes to assist my overall wellness. During the second half of the school year, Jason and I got pregnant and I fully embraced this new stage of our lives. 

Thank you for taking time to read this part of my story, and I hope you will come back to hear some where about how I got to where I am now. Feel free to share your journey in the comments below or in a private message. I love to hear peoples stories. 










Laurel Garner's Real Life Food Journal

Laurel Garner’s Real Life Food Journal

(this was done a while ago but I neglected to post;0)

surprised potato

November 28th (Monday- work at Vitamin King day)

630am  Lemon water and probiotic

730           ½ breakfast smoothie (1/2 banana, spinach, berries, whey protein powder, coconut milk from a can and water) on the run while getting Jaxton ready. Vitamins (please ask if you want to know what I take)

Run -30 minutes

9           Rest of smoothie while working at computer and Vega Hydrator in 1 litre water

930           Coffee with milk and Stevia

1210pm        Nuts and dried apricots at work on the go

1             6 ish -Artisan Crisps (cranberry and cashew with black quinoa)      

120           Relaxed unrushed lunch at work- 2 cups burrito mix (homemade) with salsa (store bought) and 1 tbsp. Caesar salad dressing (store bought). Felt satisfied but wanted coffee.

              2-dried apricots- I still want coffee

              Greens powder (some ginseng in greens mix) in 1 litre water

410           Tired and hungry. I still want coffee.

              Breakfast Espresso snack bar (Vegi Daily- 3 grams protein-hmm not much protein, thought there was more in these bars)

              Protein shake with water

              Vitamin C powder in water

5-6           Apple pieces and 2 crackers

730           Dinner while watching TV. 1.5 bowls pasta ravioli with creamy and tomato sauce (all store bought) with cheese, Caesar salad and ½ white bun

 November 29 (Tuesday- non work day)

6             Lemon water and probiotic

8             1-cup smoothie (1/2 banana, strawberries, whey protein powder, coconut milk from a can and water). Vitamins

9             Coffee with milk and Stevia

              1 cup Smoothie

1230          Burrito (homemade with soft tortilla wrap and cheese)

              1/3 cup cold coffee

Water with minerals (please ask if you want to know my favorites)

230           Vega hydrator and 2000mg Vitamin C Powder

330           protein bar, nuts and apricots


530           cheese and crackers

730           muffin (1/2 homemade)


              3 ½ pieces pizza (store bought)

9             In bed

December 17 (office work day in Kelowna)

730           Lemon water and probiotics

830           Shake while doing dishes (almond milk, blueberries, banana, coconut yogurt, whey protein powder)

10            Coffee with Eggnog and Stevia

              Water with minerals

1130          Orange and homemade muffin

1245          Carrot and peas, homemade sloppy joes


              Water with powdered vitamin C

Oh bother, forgot to write down the rest of the day. I know it is hard to do but it is helpful for you, the client and for me, your nutritionist. Stay posted for more food journals from a Real live Nutritionist, that is also human and not perfect. 

I would rather eat the cookie

I did an information session recently at the Boys and Girls Club Penticton on Sugar and the Immune System. While doing my research I came across such appalling things!

Did you know that there is a World Sugar Research Organization? The information on this website made my jaw drop; I thought we knew that sugar was not great for us and that fat is not so bad (when consuming the right kind of fat in combination with a balanced diet). And this is Not the worst of it........I guess there is still a long way to go in the world of education about sugar. 

The research that I did approve of were studies that looked at sugars affect on the brain. When we consume sugar or sugary foods, we release endorphins which are those feel good hormones. When this feeling goes, we are left craving more so we reach for more sweets. When researchers look at the brain after consuming sugar, the brain looks the same as when someone has used cocaine. No wonder we can't eat just one of those sweet tasty things.

The effects on blood sugar are similar. The sugary food takes our blood sugar up and, as we were told as a kid, what goes up, must come down. After the spike in blood sugar, we experience a crash which leaves us tired and potentially cranky. The fix = more sugar or simple carbohydrates to give us that quick boost we need. The long term affects of this can be the obvious, diabetes, but the affects are not limited to that disease. Sugar creates imbalances in our digestive system, immune systems, adrenal health, mental health and so much more. 

So, what can you do about it? Well the simple answer is just don't eat sugar. But come on, we are all human and I would never want you or me or anyone else to feel they are living in a state of deprivation so consume with mindfulness. 

When you consume a food that contains sugar, try to combine it with protein, fat or fibre which slows down the release of sugars thus decreasing the blood sugar spike. If you are craving something sweet mid-afternoon, you might be dehydrated or needing protein. Try having a protein rich snack with a vitamin C rich food or drink (not juice, try Ener-C instead). Other tricks are to take a walk, the fresh air might give you that boost of energy that you were seeking from the sugar. 

Here are some facts to think about:

  • Recommendations for intake of sugar is about 6-9 teaspoons. The actual amount of sugar consumption is over 30 teaspoons per day!
  • Fibre, protein or fat rich foods keep us feeling full longer and sugar does not.
  • Juice is sugar minus the fibre and other nutrients. A 15.2 oz bottle of apple juice contains 49 grams of sugar which is the same sugar as 10 Oreos. An apple has approximately 11 grams of sugar. I am not saying Oreaos are the best choice (there are many other less than ideal ingredients in cookies) but which would you rather have, a glass of juice or some Oreos??
man eating cookie.jpg

Better Late than Never- Spring New Years Goals-

flowers and roots

I can't believe it is already March and spring seems like it is right around the corner. As each month passes and we flip the calendar, I think 'How did we get this far in the year already?!'

At the beginning of the year, I made a mental commitment to do more blog posts. But time passes and this mental goal did not become a reality because it was not a S.M.A.R.T. goal (ask me for more information on setting S.M.A.R.T. goals). Last month I started working on setting goals which were more concrete and now I have found the time to honour this commitment to you, my clients, and to my business. 

The goal I have for this monthly blog post is to let you know a little more about me, about my services and give you an idea of all the great things that we can do while working together. I love reading personal blog posts from other practitioners as well as food bloggers and many others on social media and have made it my goal for this year, to make this part of my practice. Back in January I said to friend and mentor Raina Lutz, that I would love if someone could just take the blog posts I have written in my brain and get them out into the world for all of you to read. Wouldn't we all love this. The amount of times that I have been part of a discussion, watched a show, read a book or article, listened to a podcast or met with another practitioner and thought, I would love to write a blog post about this!! But being a mom of a wonderful busy toddler, working another amazing job and developing my business, somehow blog posts have been put on the back burner. But this month is a new month and moving forward with achieving my S.M.A.R.T. goals. I am excited to share with my clients and followers. You can look forward to recipe exploration, ideas for health and lifestyle growth and development along with mind stimulating discussions on blogs to come.

What to hear about something? A topic of discussion burning in your brain? Shoot me an email and I will see what I can do to satisfy your need. Looking forward to sharing.  

Top Five Quick Movement Ideas From Internal Balance

Recently on Instagram, I asked people to post their ideas of movement for a chance to win Top Five Quick Movement Ideas From Internal Balance. I had such fun making this list that I thought I would share with everyone. Enjoy your movement and remember to have Fun!

Don't get all caught up in sitting all day. Get moving, even if it feels awkward

Don't get all caught up in sitting all day. Get moving, even if it feels awkward

Top Five Quick Movement Ideas From Internal Balance

The brain functions better with increased blood flow. It takes only one to two minutes of movement after a period of rest to increase energy and motivation.

1.    Butterfly cross over breath

  • Stand with feet hip distance apart and arms out at shoulder height
  • Inhale
  • Exhale and lift left knee to right elbow
  • Return to starting position while inhaling
  • Exhale and lift right knee to left elbow
  • Repeat for desire amount of time and can be done faster for more intensity
    • Any exercise that involves crossing over the midline stimulates the brain and encourages right and left-brain communication.

2.   Hallelujah (best done in a group, flash mob style or totally on your own;)

  • Swing arms to the right above the head while side stepping to the right and crossing left foot behind right.
  • Swing arms to the left above the head while side stepping to the left while crossing right foot behind left.
  • Yell hallelujah with each side change or just focus on breath
  • Can be done faster for more intensity as well as with arms down moving side to side, speed skater style
    • Any exercise that also makes you smile has double the benefits for increasing energy, positive mood and endorphins 

3.   Forward fold

  • Deep breath in while raising arms up to the sky
  •  Exhale and bend forward, bringing hands towards the floor
  • Can have legs straight or slightly bent but do not lock your knees
  • Inhale as you roll up slowly
  • Try shift weight from one foot to the other while in forward fold to add movement to the backs of the legs
    • Forward fold can bring blood supply back to the brain and stimulate clear thinking

4.   Raise the roof

  • March on the spot
  • Push palms up towards the roof from resting on top of shoulders
  • You can make this hard by marching faster or lifting knees higher
  • For added challenge, hold on to a water bottle or another light object in your hands while raising the roof
    • Double the benefits with a smile

5.   Alternating kicks

  • Alternate right leg kick then left leg kick
  • Can add alternate arm punches at the same time (right kick with left punch)
  • If space allows, you can try kicking out to the side but watch that you are using leg muscle not overusing back muscles. Be aware of the messages that your body is sending you
    • Challenging yourself with coordinated movements with right and left side of the body can wake up the brain

De-Stress Your Life

De-Stress Your Life

Ask yourself: Is this good/productive stress or bad/harmful stress?

The result of harmful stress on body:

  • Blood moves away from digestion = decrease digestive capacity
  • Immunity decreases = increased risk of illness or disease
  • Body is not focused on repair and recovery = increase risk of disease or injury
  • Increase blood pressure and heart rate = increase risk of disease/illness

What Can You Do To Reduce The Effects Of Stress:

  • Breathe - take the foot off the gas pedal
  • Eat when relaxed with attention to digestion
  • Avoid raw foods when stress is higher
  • Eat protein with each meal and snack
  • Eat smaller meals and snacks when stress is higher
  • Reenergize with an ‘Afternoon Refuel’ before the crash (1-3pm) with vitamin C rich food and protein rich snack

Energy Balls For Balance By Laurel Garner

nuts and dried fruit

These yummy treats can help:

·            Weight maintenance/loss- when you add more protein and fiber to the diet, blood sugar can be stabilized which assists in weight loss or maintenance. 

·            Increase energy with added protein

·            Regulate bowels- Fiber is the stuff that makes bowels work efficiently, it takes toxins out of the body and keeps us feeling full. 

Did you know that adults should have at least 25 grams of fiber everyday?

·            Satisfy cravings for sweets without adding artificial sugars and other gross stuff which your body doesn’t really want. 


·            1 cup ground up nuts (a blender or food processer works best)- nuts provide protein, fiber and fat

·            1⁄2 cup nut butter – nut butter provides protein, fiber and fat

·            Optional: 1⁄4 cup cacao powder- Cacao provides magnesium and anti-oxidants.

·            Optional: 1⁄4 cup honey, agave or maple syrup (add less if desired)

·            Other goodies to add- mix with other ingredients 

o  Hemp seeds- provides protein

o  Sesame seeds- provides calcium and magnesium

o  Ground Flax seeds- provides fiber

o  Shredded coconut-good fats

o  Coconut oil- provides extra good fats for the brain and joints

o  Oats- provide fiber and minerals

o  Extra dark chocolate

Mix together ingredients in a bowl, roll into balls. If desired, you can roll balls in coconut or ground nuts or seeds. If freezing the balls it works best to freeze balls on cookie sheet, then transfer to a bag. Keep in freezer for 2-3 months (if they last that long- you may want to eat them everyday). 



Gluten Free Pumpkin Spice Muffins

pumpkin spice muffins and fall treats


(modified from I doubled original recipe

  • 2 Farm Fresh Eggs OR 1.5 Flax eggs (1 1/2 Tbsp (10.5 g) flax seed meal + 4 Tbsp (60 ml) water)
  • 1 mashed ripe banana or frozen banana• 3/4 cup (150 g) pumpkin puree (for best results add spices to pumpkin puree a day before using it to allow spices to ‘marinate’)
  • 1 1/3 cup (146 g) muscovado sugar*, packed (or brown sugar or coconut sugar)- can add less for less sweet version
  •  1/2 cup (60 ml) maple syrup or honey- can add less for less sweet version
  • 1/2 cup (60 ml) coconut oil melted (add more if you think they are too dry)
  •  2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1-3 tsp ground cinnamon- can add more for more spice
  • 2-3 tsp pumpkin pie spice* - can add more for more spice 1 cup (120 ml) water
  • 1 cup (55 g) almond meal (optional, ground from raw almonds or other nut of your choice)
  • 1 1/2 cup (67 g) gluten free rolled oats
  • 2 cups (160 g) gluten free flour blend (or your choice of gluten free flour option)

Options: I added about 3⁄4 cup of pear puree (could use apple sauce) to make the muffins more moist. If adding more liquid (puree), add an extra 1⁄4 cup oats or flour

 CRUMBLE TOP (optional)

  • 3 Tbsp (40 g) muscovado sugar (or sub organic brown sugar, organic cane
  • sugar, or coconut sugar)
  • 3 1/2 Tbsp (35 g) gluten free flour blend
  •  2 Tbsp (13 g) roughly chopped pecans, pepitas or walnuts • 1 1/4 Tbsp (18 g) coconut oil
  • Pinch each cinnamon + pumpkin pie spice


1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease a standard size muffin tin (will make 24+ muffins). Dust with gluten free flour and shake out excess.

2.   Mix egg in a large mixing bowl. If using flax egg, prepare and let set for 5 minutes.

3.   Add banana and mash, leaving just a bit of texture.

4.   Add pumpkin purée (preferably with spice already added and left for a night/day), muscovado sugar, maple syrup, coconut oil and vanilla extract and whisk for one minute.

5.   Stir in baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice, and mix. Add water and whisk.

6.   Add almond meal, gluten free oats, and gluten free flour blend, and stir until just combined. The batter should be thick and scoopable.

7.   Divide batter evenly among 24+ muffin tins.

8.   IF adding crumble: Rinse your mixing bowl and then add crumble ingredients. Mash ingredients together with a fork or your hands until crumbly like wet sand. Generously top muffins with streusel.

9.   Bake for 27-35 minutes or until tops are golden brown and a toothpick or knife comes out completely clean. It’s better to slightly over-bake these than under-bake because the gluten free flour blend and banana take longer to cook all the way through.

10.  Let cool for 5 minutes in the muffin tin, then gently remove and cool completely on a cooling rack. Enjoy warm or at room temperature with a little butter or coconut oil.

11.   Once completely cooled, store in a covered container at room temp for 3-4 days, though best when fresh. Freeze for longer storage (2-4 weeks).

*If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, use this DIY blend: 2 tsp ground cinnamon, 2 tsp ground ginger (or fresh), 1 tsp ground nutmeg, 1/2 tsp ground cloves.


Vitamin D. Are you getting enough?

The Sunshine Vitamin.

Sunshine vitamin

Most of us have heard about Vitamin D and many of us take it, especially in the winter. Some people may to this because they read about it or some people may have been told by their doctors to take Vitamin D, especially in the winter. But how much do we actually need?

I did some research on this topic as I wanted to see what information was out there for the public. I know what we tell people at Vitamin King and I know what I do but I wanted to know what other organizations, such as Health Canada, were recommending. 

Eat Right Ontario states that we should not depend on the sunshine to get our vitamin D because absorption and utilization of Vitamin D is dependant on full body exposure with no sunscreen. The amount of Vitamin D our body can make also depends on things such as skin colour and age (amount we can utilize decreases with age as our need for it increases). 

In 2015, The Globe and Mail posted an article about the confusion around Vitamin D intake and the many differing opinions on the topic. One part of the article states that research found that "RDAs for vitamin D are only about one-tenth those needed to cut incidence of diseases related to vitamin D deficiency.” ( A broadcast on CTV later in 2015 stated similar findings. 

IN 2010, Health Canada published an article about the need for review of RDA. The new upper limit was set for children and adults aged 9-70 at 4000 IU (100 mpg) with the lower limit being 600 IU (15 mpg). (For full article and listings for all ages visit --

Osteoporosis Canada states that Vitamin D is defiantly related to not only bone health by increasing the absorption of calcium but that is also assists with muscle function. 

I have begun to see why people get so confused when they start to look online for information about supplements and nutritional health, it is confusing to me too! 

I think we can concluded that in Canada, especially in the winter (unless you go somewhere tropical for the winter) that we need some Vitamin D. The amount we need I will leave up to you but I think that somewhere round 1000 IU for adults seems like a common recommendation. If you are concerned you can contact your doctor and ask to pay for a Vitamin D test (out of your own pocket). 

If you want more information about Vitamin D and Seasonal Affect Disorder, please contact me. 

Always consult the package of the product for specific instructions on dosing for your age or consult your health practitioner.

Slow cooker Beef Stew

You can really take any recipe and modify it to your liking!!

Here is an example of what my wonderful husband makes us for dinner. He used what we had in the house and added spices as he see fit.

Alterations were; no bacon, no tomato paste (although if you had tomatoes you could put in a fresh one), no brussel sprouts, and no red wine (we like to drink it instead;), no allspice and no parsley as we did not have these ingidients. He added celery, used normal potatoes and carrots and used veggie broth instead of beef (because that is what we had), he also added thyme. For me, I could have added more carrots and celery.


What is your body telling you?

It has been a while and I feel like so much has happened since my last blog. My life has been a divine example of what happens when you put an idea out to the universe. I knew I wanted to get my business up and running again and sure enough with very little time this is what the universe handed me. People often say that you have to be careful what you ask for and well, you do need to be aware of the messages you are sending the universe because they might just happen. 

At the same time I was thinking about my business, I also was thinking how nice it would be to earn some more money while staying home with Jaxton and how much fun it was to have his little friends over for play dates. And so my wishes were granted. I had a friend ask me to look after her little guy one day a week and another friend referred me to a clinic in Westbank that was hiring a nutritionist.

All of a sudden it felt like doors were opening all over the place and I wanted to jump into all of them, all at once. For anyone that knows me, this 'everything all at once' way of being is something that is very familiar to me although not always the most sustainable or healthy way of living. For a week I did think I could do it at Vitamin King, be a stay a home mom, provide childcare for other children, and build my nutrition practice. But quicker than I could realize that my body was saying 'No this doesn't work!' I heard a message coming from my son, Jaxton, loud and clear. He became super clingy to me, crying when I left him anywhere, even with family. He was irriatible, and generally just not his happy little self. It didn't take me long to realize that this change was related to the extra busyness and stress that I had been experiencing. It reminded me that if I was really listening to my body, I would have heard the same message but it was just so much harder to ignore when the message was delivered by a sad and distressed little boy. So I sat down with my husband Jason. We prioritized and came up with a plan that hopefully will be healthy for all of us. 

I am continuing to work at Vitamin King two days a week because this workplace has become my extended family, and a vital part of my community. I have learned so much from the ladies working there and I know that I have so much more to learn from them. I will be consulting out of the Willow Community Midwives office in Penticton every Friday for full or half days depending on the week (see facebook or my website for monthly updates of days and times). I will be working out of Transformative Health in Westbank Saturday's starting October 1st and am still available for consultations other times with a bit of notice. Oh and I did say yes to looking after another little boy for two months, one day a week but this really doesn't feel like work most days and it is something we will re-evaluate come November. 

I am committing to listening to my bodies messages if this doesn't work and if my ears fail me and it is not working, I have my dear sweet boy to let me know if life is getting too busy for our little family. 

I hope that you are finding ways to listening to the messages your body sends you because usually they are loud and clear, we can just get very good at tuning it out. When you listen to your bodies messages you can find new ways to find happiness and balance in all areas of your life. 

To new adventures, exciting opportunities and to listening to the loud clear messages our bodies send to us. I am excited to share this time of growth with you.  

200+ days

So Facebook reminded me that it has been some 200+ days since I have posted and that just goes to show how days can just fly by...... In this past 200+ days I have been fully immersed (and completely in love) with being a Mom. I thought (as many of us do) that I would have more time as a new mom but what I quickly realized is that I do not have more time even though I was not working. And I did not want to take time away from every special amazing moment with our baby boy. But now that life is a little more settled and our son, Jaxton, is a little more independent, I think it is time to find a little more time for me, which means more time for Internal Balance and for You. Keep posted for new exciting developments here and on my Facebook page at