About Me

My name is Christine. I'm a visual artist, musician, traditional storyteller, DV survivor, and have been a fulltime caregiver for an individual living with various diagnoses. After my marriage, I learned how to play various instruments, started exploring various means of creative expression, worked with at-risk teens/families, volunteered with the local crisis lines, participated in starting up a family resource center, completed my BA, furthered my studies towards becoming an art therapist, managed homes for adults living with disabilities, and facilitated therapeutic music/art sessions. I was doing everything I could so my children and I could have a brighter life, present and future. My physical health, however, continued to show evidence of too many chronic stressors over many decades. This blog is about my journey in discovering peace and better health by meeting life in the most basic and, in my opinion, the most rewarding of ways - by focusing on the riches of simplicity. If you're a new visitor to my blog, you might be interested in starting here: Finding the Riches.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Canada's Food Guide

When I was younger, Canada's Food Guide seemed to be considered by many around me as the epitome of nutritional information. I was fascinated by it, especially while learning which foods fit into which category. It was a good learning tool for exploring the basics of food-categorization and for learning the importance of nutrition.

Among my primary guides today are http://www.nutritiondata.com for providing nutritional data along with glycemic/inflammation information, and sites providing information regarding acid-forming and alkaline-forming foods:


For many things in life, I believe in the importance of embracing as well as balance. When it comes to food, however, I aim for mostly-alkaline with good glycemic/inflammation rating. I don't eat only alkaline-forming foods, but when I choose something that isn't clearly in that category, I do so to maintain a healthy alkaline/acid balance*, for nutritional value otherwise, and in small amounts. I do make a general exception when it comes to eating with friends, though it's been interesting to note that there are some foods which no longer hold interest for me and some that are much less of a draw than they used to be. Pretty cool, huh?

* Example: "To maintain health, the diet should consist of 60% alkaline forming foods and 40% acid forming foods.  To restore health, the diet should consist of 80% alkaline forming foods and 20% acid forming foods. Generally, alkaline forming foods include: most fruits, green vegetables, peas, beans, lentils, spices, herbs and seasonings, and seeds and nuts.
Generally, acid forming foods include: meat, fish, poultry, eggs, grains, and legumes."

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Lake-aholic me

I wish I could do justice in showing the lake in its splendor: the textures of the frozen ripples of water, snow and ice; the subtle shifts in shades of blues and greys and whites.

Dragon's Teeth 
 One of many nature-made quinzhees along the shoreline
I continue to be in awe of the wonders of beauty when I look out over the lake. There
are so many shades in the sky and across the snow and ice. I remain grateful and inspired.

 The vast variety of textures along the shoreline and across the surface of the lake are humbling and make me feel transported to an entirely different existence.


What To Do With Chia Seed

 I've had some emails lately from folks who are hesitant to use chia because they either don't know what to do with it or struggle with the taste/texture of having it with just water and aren't sure what else to do with it. This afternoon I was about to put together one of my favourite chia combinations and decided I'd share it with you :-)

Here's my chia seed in a bowl. When I make something with chia, I usually use about 3 Tablespoons.
Then I add water, usually about a cup.

 It only takes a minute or so before it starts to gel.
  After a few minutes its consistency is similar to oatmeal, though the texture is very different. It can also be left to soak overnight.
 For one of my all-time favourite chia dishes, I add in hemp hearts and milled flaxseed.
Then I add in tomato juice, and tadaa! (Sometimes I soak the chia seeds in the tomato juice instead of water, but I often do the water for the added hydration.) Mmmm, healthy tomatoey goodness that hits the spot and packs a great nutritional whallop: calcium, protein, magnesium, copper, iron, zinc, fibre, omegas, hydration, amino acids, phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, etc., etc., etc. No cooking, takes moments to prepare. Pretty cool, huh? 

Chia is also great for smoothies, in a variety of dishes either dry or soaked, and in drinks such as Chia Fresca. The seeds are small so they're easily swallowed and offer so many nutritional benefits that I won't go into here but are easily found online. All the best!

Monday, December 02, 2013

Morning Shift

Life has shifted.

Fall of 2013 has been the first season in his entire life when my son has been consistently getting up on his own in the mornings (and not at 4am as in years gone by) and getting dressed and ready for the day independently. I'm very proud of him.

For me, this has meant a major shift. Mornings are now quiet. Peaceful. And I now have the luxury of getting up on my own schedule rather than being woken by someone else's morning displeasures that continue until they leave the house - and sometimes beyond ;-) 

What a change! And very healing for the body, mind, and soul.

Calm and peace are first on my list in the morning. I often find myself coming out of a dream when I become aware of being awake in the morning, though not always. Sometimes I take a bit of time to remember what I've dreamt about but otherwise I start my exercises by watching the tree branches outside my window.

After a quick washroom break, I clean my teeth (baking soda, water, sometimes coconut oil, sometimes a natural toothpaste), and drink either a glass of plain water or water with baking soda. Then I move into the rest of my morning. My exercise time is for body, mind, and spirit. I meditate, do various stretches, exercise my focus, take time for creative free-flow thought, exercise my breathing, and purposely take time to feel a sense of wonder.
Then I indulge in my first breakfast. I'm a big fan of "smoothies" because I can toss all sorts of good stuff into the blender and drink it down: http://richesofsimplicity.blogspot.ca/2013/11/toss-anything-in.html.

This morning's first breakfast started with a pumpkin smoothie (frozen,/cooked pumpkin, banana, hemp hearts, water, chia seed, dehydrated kale, dehydrated spinach, maple syrup, cinnamon) followed by almonds followed by tomato juice:

My second breakfast was mashed chickpeas (garbanzo beans) that had been soaked (from dried) then cooked, mashed raw garlic mixed in with the chickpeas (a sort of hummus), cucumbers slices, and green tea.

My son is usually up by the time I've had or am having my second breakfast, and then our day together begins.