TLD

A spread of probiotic rich foods I have at home: Vega One nutritional shake, Genuine Health greens+ whole body nutrition, kimchi and sauerkraut.

In researching my first article for Canadian Living, I was blown away by bacteria – especially by learning of the 100,000,000,000 of them that are living in our bodies, called our microbiota!

Beyond digestive health, a diverse microbiota is absolutely essential for optimal overall physical and mental health.

For this story, I was so lucky to interview Dr Alan Logan, a researcher, digestive health expert, naturopathic doctor, and author of The Brain Diet and Your Brain on Nature.

On two separate occasions we spoke at length about bacteria, fermentation, mental and physical health. I was fascinated to learn about the numerous ways we can support and expand our microbiota and help them thrive, so they can help us do the same.

Read the full article, with tips on working beneficial bacteria into your diet, at canadianliving.com.

 

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Johanna Ward | DanceFit YWCA

Johanna Ward’s DanceFit class at the YWCA is an amazing workout that’s ridiculously fun. (Image: akanekondo.com)

For my latest assignment for BC Living, I set out to discover some of the best fitness classes in town, some incredible instructors, and some awesome apparel to look great while you work out.

I am so fortunate as a fitness, food and travel writer to learn about an experience so many amazing things! Research is often my favourite part of the job, as I get to know some incredible people doing wonderful things in our community – and that was definitely the case for this assignment.

Check out these classes if you want to have fun while you get fit!

Read the full article on BCLiving.ca.

 

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FWE | The Life Delicious

Last month, I had the opportunity to contribute to the Forum For Women Entrepreneurs‘ blog!

I shared to two powerful yet simple approaches guaranteed to help you bring your best hustle, creativity and energy to the world: changing your brain chemistry for immediate health, happiness and productivity, and changing your brain structure for long-term health, happiness and productivity.

Head over to FWE’s blog to read the full article.

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Nouveau Resilience | The Life Delicious | Catherine Roscoe Barr

Rebirth and renewal

With my 35th birthday, a new job for my husband, and my parents’ retirement to the West Coast in the recent past, plus another move (our 12th since we’ve been married!) in the near future, rebirth and renewal have been on my mind lately.

I came up with the term “nouveau resilience” while lunching with my beautiful friend May Globus, who’s such a ray of light, and also happens to be my birthday twin!

We were talking about the qualities necessary to weather the inevitable storms that life brings. Last year in particular was a very difficult year for my family, with an unprecedented number of fierce storms.

Silver linings

One of the silver linings was that during that time, I was putting the finishing touches on my wellness coaching curriculum – immersed in information on consciousness, mindfulness, meditation, positive psychology, gratitude, self-nurturing, connection, stress management, exercise and nutrition – and practicing what I’d learned.

I used to believe that resilience was something you’re born with, either you have it or you don’t. Until last year, I don’t know if I would have defined myself as a resilient person. Now, I do.

Psychology Today defines resilience as “that ineffable quality that allows some people to be knocked down by life and come back stronger than ever. Rather than letting failure overcome them and drain their resolve, they find a way to rise from the ashes. Psychologists have identified some of the factors that make someone resilient, among them a positive attitude, optimism, the ability to regulate emotions, and the ability to see failure as a form of helpful feedback. Even after a misfortune, blessed with such an outlook, resilient people are able to change course and soldier on.”

Positivity, optimism and grit

I now believe that everyone can learn to be resilient, armed with positivity, optimism and grit. I feel truly, deeply compelled to share the tools I’ve discovered that have allowed me to rise from the ashes and come back stronger than ever.

Nouveau resilience defines the ability to overcome the brain’s natural negativity bias, cultivate a positive outlook, harness the happiness advantage, and view failure as a bridge to greatness. Every day provides the opportunity for nouveau resilience. Every moment, every breath.

Every breath is a rebirth

In her new book, Running With Nature, Mariel Hemmingway beautifully captures one of the biggest shifts in consciousness I’ve gained from mindfulness and meditation: every breath is a rebirth. “Every inhale is the birth of a new moment, and every exhale is its release, a micro version of the life and death cycle,” she says. “Each breath, each inhale and exhale, is another opportunity to consciously change and release the things that no longer serve us well and allow us to start anew.”

Today – this very moment – you can begin to cultivate nouveau resilience.

The Life Delicious curriculum celebrates the principle that every moment, every second, provides the opportunity for rebirth, the opportunity to begin again.

The Life Delicious curriculum provides stepping stones toward nouveau resilience. The curriculum is built on ideas and concepts that helped me overcome a very long struggle with negativity and hopelessness. These are principles that have changed my life, and my clients’ lives, in the most incredible and seemingly magical ways.

To learn more about The Life Delicious curriculum click here, or contact me about private wellness coaching, group workshops, public speaking, wellness retreats, and (soon-to-be) online training videos.

 

Urban Digs Farm | The Life Delicious

The heritage breed pigs at Urban Digs Farm are fed a wholesome and almost entirely organic diet, and are free to roam around their large enclosure. 

Where does my food come from?

Becoming a food writer gave me a new lens through which to look at the food I was eating.

As a fitness professional for over a decade and the product of a stay-at-home mother who cooked all of our meals from scratch, I’ve always been interested in healthy nutrition, but learning the story behind the ingredients through meeting some of BC’s most incredible chefs has drastically changed the way I eat.

I used to think from the perspective of “protein” and “vegetables,” especially during my days as a personal trainer working in a gym where many of my colleagues subsided on such bland meals as poached chicken and steamed broccoli. I didn’t think beyond the shelves of my grocery store. I didn’t consider how the pristine chicken breasts and neatly stacked rows of vegetables made their way into my shopping cart.

Because I was so detached from the source of these products, I didn’t think about how the animals were treated, what chemicals had been sprayed on the vegetables, or how far the packages had travelled, and at what environmental cost, to arrive on my plate.

Origins

Urban Digs Farm | The Life Delicious

The ducks at Urban Digs Farm have the space to snuggle with each other, stretch out on their own, or splash around in their little pool. 

When I began to interview chefs and look closely at their menus, they highlighted their ingredients’ origins: Agassiz hazelnuts, North Arm Farm beets, Lois Lake steelhead, Maple Hill Farms chicken.

This made me think about my own ingredients’ origins when I was cooking at home. When I began asking questions, I often didn’t like what I discovered. In some cases, I was completely horrified.

I take full responsibility for my own ignorance but I was still very angry that many of the products I’d been buying, with deceptive marketing depicting nutritious, sun-ripened plants and happy, frolicking animals, were grown or raised under very shameful circumstances.

Empowered action

As I began to get really nosy and ask a lot of questions, I discovered the power I had to make informed choices and the influence that every dollar I spent carried. My mood changed from anger to empowerment. It became evident that a small army of compassionate and concerned businesses was rising and by buying their products I was helping them, in very small part, grow.

When I met Erin Ireland, a respected food reporter and owner of To Die For Fine Foods, I knew I’d found a kindred spirit. This is a woman who oozes compassion and authenticity. A few years after we met, I heard her captivating Pecha Kucha talk (watch it below) and was very interested to hear we’d had a similar journey with the way we thought about and approached food.

During one of our beautiful nature jogs with our dogs, Effie (hers) and Charlie (mine), we hatched a plan to visit local farms to see with our own eyes how they operated. As both animal lovers and food reporters, we felt a strong pull to act and speak with authenticity and transparency. We wanted to be sure that the wonderful new restaurant we were sharing on social media, or writing about for local publications, was getting their ingredients from equally wonderful producers.

#trulyethicalBC adventure

So began our #trulyethicalBC adventure, a series of road trips to discover who’s doing great things in our community and share them with everyone we know and the reach of our combined media outlets.

Follow our #trulyethicalBC adventure on Twitter and Instagram (@erinireland and @lifedelish) and look for posts on our websites (itstodiefor.ca and thelifedeliciousblog.com).

First stop: Urban Digs Farm

Urban Digs Farm | The Life Delicious

The pigs at Urban Digs Farm love getting a belly rub from owners Julia Smith and Ludo Ferrari.

If you follow Urban Digs Farm on Twitter (@UrbanDigsFarm), you’re treated to adorable images of their chickens foraging around the farmyard, ducks lounging in the sunshine or splashing in their pool, and pigs rooting around in the rich, peaty soil or having a nap in their cozy sheds.

We wanted to see these happy animals for ourselves so when owners Julia Smith and Ludo Ferrari invited us out for a visit we pulled on our gumboots, hopped in the car, and made our way to their beautiful little plot in South Burnaby.

It was a real privilege to spend nearly two hours with Julia and Ludo as they showed us some of the work required to raise animals with their fierce ethical conviction.

5,000 pounds of organic food diverted from landfill each week

Urban Digs Farm | The Life Delicious

Julia shows us some of the organic produce, brew mash, and yogurt they diverted from the landfill to feed their animals.

One of the first things that struck me was how they feed their animals. Firstly, it’s almost entirely organic feed. Every week they pick up over 5,000 pounds of mostly organic food from a nearby grocery store and brewery, diverting it from the landfill – even though it’s practically in perfect shape! I had no idea how much food waste occurs in the grocery business.

It sounds pretty great to get truckloads of organic food for free but the time spent in transit and on opening hundreds of packages is a huge time commitment. I also learned that organically-grown, ethically raised animals take at least twice as long to raise as factory farmed animals, so this commitment is magnified. Not to mention the time spent rubbing bellies, patting heads, and checking on each and every animal individually to make sure they’re thriving.

When we visited the farm, we checked in on the chickens and ducks on our way to see their beautiful, boisterous heritage pigs who were just finishing up a snack of organic yogurt, greens and brew mash – the nutritious leftovers from beer-making that would otherwise be thrown in the garbage. There were stacks and stacks of cases of 100-gram yogurt containers. Can you imagine how long it would take to open enough teeny tiny containers to feed over a dozen hungry, growing pigs?

Reducing carbon footprints

As Julia pointed out, this is a good way to raise animals – maybe we should only eat animals raised on (perfectly good) food waste, instead of growing feed that requires an additional carbon footprint.

The pigs at Urban Digs Farm not only have a net zero carbon footprint, they’re carbon positive! With their strong muzzles, built for rooting, they’ve pulled up entire fields of invasive quackgrass, preparing the fertile soil for nutritious vegetable gardens. The peat bog they’re located on is some of the best land in Canada, says Julia.

The pigs are allowed to carry out their natural, highly social behaviours, while they divert organic waste from the landfill, spare the cultivation of fields for feed crops, provide fertilizer from their manure, and do the job of heavy machinery by removing weeds and preparing the soil for nutrient-dense produce.

This, said Julia as she lovingly rubbed one of her pig’s bellies, is an example of why farm animals are an important part of the agro ecosystem.

We were beginning to get the idea of how much work it took to raise their animals in alignment with their values, and how much love and compassion there was behind their efforts.

Urban Digs Farm | The Life Delicious

Eggs and fresh whole chickens from the farm are available at the Urban Digs Farm Market.

To support Urban Digs Farm and nourish your body with their wholesome food, look for their products here:

The Urban Digs Farm Market is located at 4992 Byrne Road, Burnaby, BC and is open Thursdays from 1pm to 6pm and Saturdays from 10am to 5pm.

Check their website, urbandigsfarm.com, for regular updates. As of June 18, here’s what they have in store:

In addition to lovely spring produce and eggs we’ll have fresh whole chicken, whole ducks, duck breasts, heritage pork and red angus beef. All our meat is super sustainably and ethically raised on pasture.

Here’s a more or less complete list of what’s for eats this week:

  • Broccoli
  • Arugula
  • Garlic Scapes
  • Daikon
  • Sunflower Shoots
  • Pea Shoots
  • Kale
  • Swiss Chard
  • Napa Cabbage
  • Bok Choy
  • Honey
  • Eggs
  • Whole Duck
  • Duck Breast
  • Red Angus Beef
  • Bacon
  • Pickles & Preserves

In addition to picking up lovely spring produce, you can also visit the baby chicks, ducks, chickens & pigs, and see how our spring crops are coming along.

We are really easy to get to by car, transit or bike. There are miles of beautiful biking/walking paths right at the end of our street so why not make an afternoon of it?

We look forward to seeing you soon!

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What you’ll learn from this collection of passionate experts is incredible, and all of their insight is packed into less than 25 minutes per video.

I hope you’ll find these talks inspiring, informative and thought-provoking! They’re arranged in alphabetical order by speakers first name because I could never pick my absolute favourite, they’re all so good!

Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are

Arianna Huffington: How to succeed? Get more sleep

Andy Puddicombe: All it takes is 10 mindful minutes

Angela Lee Duckworth: The key to success? Grit

Brene Brown: The power of vulnerability

Daniel Amen: Change your brain, change your life

Elizabeth Gilbert: Your elusive creative genius

Eric Goodman: The unexpected physical consequences of technology

Goldie Hawn and Daniel Siegel: The power of mindfulness

Greg Wells: Sleep better, eat better, move better

Jill Bolte Taylor: My stroke of insight

John Ratey: The importance of movement

Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity?

Lissa Rankin: Is there scientific proof we can heal ourselves?

Matthieu Ricard: The habits of happiness

Maysoon Zayid: I got 99 problems… palsy is just one

Rick Hanson: Hardwiring happiness

Shawn Achor: The happy secret to better work

Susan Cain: The power of introverts

Temple Grandin: The world needs all kinds of minds

Tony Robbins: Why we do what we do

 

Did I miss any of your favourite TED Talks? Tweet me @LifeDelish!

Catherine Roscoe Barr | The Life Delicious

My dear good friend, Johanna Ward, host of Shaw TV’s go! Vancouver and YWCA fitness instructor extraordinaire (seriously, go to one of her amazing, thrice weekly DanceFit classes) came over the other day to talk about The Life Delicious!

We exercised on my patio, talked about stress management in my hammock, and made a tasty, quick and easy curry in my kitchen. Watch the segment below.

What is The Life Delicious?

The Life Delicious is the convergence of stress management, exercise and nutrition.

Health, happiness and productivity blossom where stress management, exercise and nutrition converge!

When you prioritize self-nurturing, by creating energy rituals for stress management, exercise and nutrition – by filling your mind, body and spirit batteries – you bring your best self to the world.

When you prioritize self-nurturing, you inspire others to do the same. Imagine if everyone brought their best selves to the world!

The Trifecta of Wellness: stress management, exercise and nutrition

As a full-time personal trainer and group fitness instructor for nearly a decade, I felt there was something missing from the conversation about exercise and nutrition. In general, people know it’s important to “eat well” and “exercise,” so why is there such a serious lack of implementation? Why isn’t everyone loading up on fresh greens and gym memberships?

I believe the missing link is stress management.

A healthy mind makes anything possible. Self-nurturing – a balanced diet, rich in nutrients and open to occasional indulgence, and an active lifestyle with a diverse selection of physical activity – becomes so much easier when you have a positive, mindful, open attitude.

The Life Delicious harnesses the power of self-directed neuroplasticity

Your brain is an ever-changing, ever-evolving organ. Neuroplasticity, or brain plasticity, refers to your brain’s malleability, it’s ability to physically change throughout your lifetime.

Experience-dependent neuroplasticity describes the passive structural changes your brain undergoes with day-to-day thoughts, actions and experiences. What you think and do changes your brain, for better or for worse.

Self-directed neuroplasticity describes the conscious, mindful sculpting of your brain’s neural pathways. You can physically change your brain by consciously focussing on the positive. Whether you end your day by writing down a list of things you’re grateful for or positive experiences you’ve had, or just take a minute or two to ruminate on gratitude and positivity, you are changing your brain.

When you consciously focus on how great you feel when you eat nutritious food, move and challenge your body, and spend time doing things you love and with people you love, you are changing your brain.

Neurons that fire together wire together

Using your mind, you’re changing your brain to scan the world for the good, and you’re creating strong pathways and associations between healthy behaviours (mindfulness, physical activity and nutritious food) and happy, positive and resilient feelings.

So the next time you’re trying to manage a stressful situation, deciding whether or not to exercise, or planning your next meal, healthy options will spring to mind, reinforcing them even further.

This is such a powerful and easy-to-implement way to make a balanced, healthy lifestyle practically effortless. It’s made all of the difference in the world to me. It’s kind of magical!

Check out the fabulous TEDtalk with neuropsychiatrist Rick Hanson below on “hardwiring happiness.”

Click on the image below for the 12-minute workout I shared with Johanna.

The Life Delicious | Catherine Roscoe Barr

Click on the image below for the coconut lentil curry recipe I shared with Johanna.

Coconut Lentil Curry | The Life Delicious

 

To learn more about The Life Delicious mindfulness-based wellness philosophy, click here.

 

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Coconut Lentil Curry | The Life Delicious

Having a stocked pantry and freezer means always having a quick and nutritious meal at your fingertips!

I shared a version of this easy, delicious, healthy, one-pot dish with Johanna Ward on Shaw TV’s go! Vancouver. All of the ingredients came from my pantry or freezer. It’s become a regular Plan B meal, when I’m low on groceries and even lower on the energy to make a laborious dinner.

Serves 2

Ingredients
• 1/2 cup green or red lentils (green are a crunchier, red are mushier)
• 1 can coconut milk
• 1 tbsp curry powder
• 1/2 bag frozen spinach
• 1/2 cup frozen edamame
• 10 frozen shrimp, 1 chicken breast (chopped), 1 brick tofu (chopped), or 1 cup cooked brown rice.
Instructions
1. In medium saucepan, bring lentils and coconut milk to boil, stir in curry powder, reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Add a splash of water if needed.
2. Add spinach and edamame and cook for another 7 minutes.
3. Add shrimp, chicken, tofu or rice, and cook for another 5 minutes, or until shrimp or chicken are cooked through.

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Books | The Life Delicious | Catherine Roscoe Barr

Books are such a gift. It’s such a gift to be inspired, to be informed and to be swept away by a story.

Here’s the best of what I’ve been reading lately. Click on their titles for more information.

1. All In: You, Your Business, Your Life

by Arlene Dickinson

2. Clean: The Revolutionary Program to Restore the Body’s Natural Ability to Heal Itself

byAlejandro Junger

3. Clean Gut: The Breakthrough Plan for Eliminating the Root Cause of Disease and Revolutionizing your Health

by Alejandro Junger

4. Joyous Health: Eat and Live Well Without Dieting

by Joy McCarthy

5. Listen to the Squawking Chicken: When Mother Knows Best, What’s a Daughter To Do? A Memoir (Sort Of) 

by Elaine Lui

6. Maximize your Potential: Grow your Expertise, Take Bold Risks and Build An Incredible Career

by Jocelyn K Glei

7. Meals That Heal Inflammation: Embrace Healthy Living and Eliminate Pain, One Meal at A Time

by Julie Daniluk

8. Money: A Love Story

by Kate Northrup

9. Off the Beaten Path: A Hiking Guide to Vancouver’s North Shore

by Norm Watt

10. Relaxation Revolution: Enhancing your Personal Health through the Science and Genetics of Mind Body Healing

by Herbert Benson

11. Running With Nature: Stepping Into the Life You Were Meant to Live

by Mariel Hemingway and Bobby Williams

12. Super Rich: A Guide to Having It All

by Russell Simmons

13. The Body Book: The Law of Hunger, the Science of Strength, and Other Ways to Love your Amazing Body

by Cameron Diaz

14. The Better Mother

by Jen Sookfong Lee

15. The Body Ecology Diet: Recovering your Health and Rebuilding your Immunity

by Donna Gates

16. The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph From the Frontiers of Brain Science

by Norman  Doidge

17. The Great Canadian Bucket List: One-of-a-Kind Travel Experiences

by Robin Esrock

18. The Mayo Clinic Guide to Stress-free Living

by Amit Sood

19. The Signature of All Things

by Elizabeth Gilbert

20. Thrive Energy Cookbook: 150 Functional, Plant-based Whole Food Recipes

by Brendan Brazier

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The Life Delicious | Catherine Roscoe Barr

12 minutes, 3 exercises and 2 pieces of equipment for this fun, functional full-body circuit workout

 

You’ll need:

  • Jump rope
  • Yoga mat

Have you ever had one of those days where you just can’t gather the moment for a workout? I have those days less and less as I deepen my understanding of the gift of moment and its incredible benefits for focus, creativity, energy, positivity and self-confidence.

I never feel worse after a workout, end of story. I know that it’s a super highway to feeling good, mentally and physically.

Yesterday, however, I was still in my bathrobe at 10am, having got up early to finish and submit a writing assignment for an awesome magazine. I was out of my usual routine of “wake, drink water, meditate, exercise” and having trouble gaining the momentum to get up and sweat.

The sun was making a rare appearance, amidst days of rain, so I knew I needed to get outside. I wanted something short and intense because I was planning on indulging that afternoon at Vancouver Magazine’s 25th Annual Restaurant Awards followed by dinner and movie with my husband.

I’m really fortunate to have a big patio and I felt like using my skipping rope – because even though it’s incredibly challenging it makes me smile like a big kid – so I came up with this little 12-minute workout that I’m excited to share with you!

By the way, how awesome are my snazzy new shoes? They’re the New Balance Minimus 10 Road. I love them! I got them from the amazing folks at Forerunners in North Vancouver. Ken Greenaway and Jerry Ziak are total pros who will make sure you’re in the proper shoes.    

The Workout

Throughout these exercises, focus on keeping your transverse abdominis engaged (draw your belly button in and up), spine elongated (maintain length between the bottom of your ribs and the top of your hip bones), chest lifted, shoulders back, and traps, neck and jaw relaxed.

Perform each exercise below for 1 minute with total focus on perfect form.

You can set your smartphone timer for 1 minute and reset between each exercise or use a free app like Ugi Fitness (read about the “hysterically hard” workout, which I love, here), and customize it to 1-minute intervals with no rest in between for 12 minutes (it also gives you a 10-seconds-to-go alert for each minute).

When you’re done, make sure to take a few minutes to stretch. I like to begin with a couple of sun salutations for a gentle cool down and then move into some static stretches. Click here for more info on stretching and sun salutations.

1. Jump rope (nice and easy to start, shuffling from one foot to the other)

The Life Delicious | Catherine Roscoe Barr

2. Squats

The Life Delicious | Catherine Roscoe Barr

  • Inhale as you lower your hips back and down, engaging your glutes, hamstrings, quads and calves for a smooth, controlled decent
  • Keep your knees strong, without wobbling, and equidistant apart
  • Exhale as you raise your hips, squeezing your glutes, hamstrings, quads and calves for a powerful ascent

3. Jump rope (feet together, double bounce, still fairly easy)

4. Superman + shoulder blade squeeze

The Life Delicious | Catherine Roscoe Barr

This is a great way to work your middle and lower back without any equipment

  • Lie on your front with arms stretched out to the side, elbows slightly bent, and thumbs up
  • Gently begin to slide your shoulder blades down your spine and then squeeze them together to lift your arms off the ground
  • Then squeeze your lower back to peel your chest off the ground
  • Be sure to keep your neck and jaw relaxed, and look straight down, keeping the length in the back of your neck

5. Jump rope (feet together, a little faster)

6. Squats (option: jump squats)

  • Make them jump squats for added intensity!
  • Be sure to land softly, absorbing the shock to protect your joints

7. Jump rope (feet together, see how high you can jump)

8. Superman + shoulder blade squeeze

9. Jump rope (alternating high knees)

10. Squats

11. Jump rope (slalom / side to side)

12. Superman + shoulder blade squeeze

 

Chickpea Salad

This fresh, crunchy salad recipe is a really tasty accompaniment to grilled fish or poultry, and holds up nicely for leftovers the next day.

Ingredients

  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 bunch of parsley, chopped with stems removed
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1/3 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • Generous pinch cayenne pepper
  • Pinch cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, stirring well to combine.
  2. Let sit for at least 1 hour before serving to let flavours meld.
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Victoria, BC

The food scene in Victoria is crazy awesome right now! There are so many fantastic restaurants serving utterly delicious food that’s local, seasonal, sustainable and ethical.

I’m especially excited about the new Victoria Public Market, with tons of tasty vendors, Be Love, a new restaurant serving to-die-for organic cuisine and awesome drinks, and Fol Epi organic bakery, with out-of-this-world baked goods, breads and pastries.

But Victoria is one of my favourite places to visit beyond it’s fabulous food and drink, and there will be a lot more of the historic city in my future as my parents are retiring there later this year. They’re big walkers and with their enthusiastic help I’m slowly discovering all of the city’s scenic, historic and natural nooks and crannies.

Every time I visit Victoria, I discover something new. Here are a few stories I’ve written about British Columbia’s quaint capital:

Below are highlights from some of my recent visits. Click the titles to visit their respective websites.

STAY: Beaconsfield Inn Bed and Breakfast

Beaconsfield Inn(Image: Aaron Barr)

STAY: Inn at Laurel Point

Inn at Laurel Point(Image: Inn at Laurel Point) 

STAY: Fairmont Empress

Fairmont Empress(Image: Aaron Barr)

EAT: 10 Acres Bistro and Bar

10 Acres(Image: Catherine Roscoe Barr)

EAT: AURA Waterfront Restaurant

Aura

(Image: Catherine Roscoe Barr)

EAT: The Bengal Lounge

Bengal Lounge

(Image: Bengal Lounge)

EAT: Bubby’s Kitchen

Bubby's Kitchen

(Image: Bubby’s Kitchen)

EAT: Camille’s Fine West Coast Dining

Camille's

(Image: Camille’s Fine West Coast Dining)

EAT: Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub

Spinnakers

(Image: Aaron Barr)

EAT: Veneto Tapa Lounge

Veneto

(Image: Veneto Tapa Lounge)

EAT: Be Love

Be Love

(Image: Catherine Roscoe Barr)

EAT: Victoria Public Market – Vij’s Sutra 

Sutra

(Image: Catherine Roscoe Barr)

EAT: Victoria Public Market – La Cocina de mama Oli 

Mama Oli

(Image: Catherine Roscoe Barr)

EAT: Victoria Public Market – Roast Meat Shop and Sandwiches 

Roast

(Image: Catherine Roscoe Barr)

EAT: The White Heather Tea Room 

The White Heather

(Image: Catherine Roscoe Barr)

EAT: Fol Epi organic bakery 

Fol Epi

(Image: Catherine Roscoe Barr)

EAT: Fry’s Bakery 

Fry's Bakery

(Image: Catherine Roscoe Barr)

VISIT: Boathouse Spa and Baths at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel 

Boathouse Spa

(Image: Boathouse Spa and Baths)

VISIT: Spa Magnolia at The Magnolia Hotel 

Spa Magnolia

(Image: Spa Magnolia)

VISIT: SORA Spa at the Hotel Grand Pacific 

SORA spa

(Image: SORA Spa)

VISIT: The Pedaler cycling tours 

The Pedaler

(Image: The Pedaler)

VISIT: Discover the Past walking tours 

Discover the Past

(Image: Aaron Barr)

VISIT: Silk Road Tea 

Silk Road Tea

(Image: Aaron Barr)

VISIT: Royal BC Museum

Royal BC Museum

(Image: Aaron Barr)

TRAVEL: Harbour Air 

Harbour Air

(Image: Catherine Roscoe Barr)

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Barre Fitness

The bulk of my workouts happen at home so I can’t pull the old I’m-too-busy-too-exercise card. I’ve got dumbbells, resistance bands, yoga mats, a jump rope and other assorted fitness equipment in my home office so there’s never an excuse not to squeeze in some physical activity.

I do, however, love to join group fitness classes every once in a while, to get inspired, get new ideas, and have someone else push me in new and challenging ways.

All of those things – inspiration, ideas, pushing and challenging – happened when I first dropped in on Barre Fitness in Yaletown a few years ago on assignment for BC Living and got to meet co-owners Ella Jotie and Michele Murgel, who’ve built a huge following with their effective routines, skilled instructors and clean, modern facilities. I was super impressed by their attention to detail and safe approach to fitness program design.

Barre Fitness North Vancouver

Fast forward a few years and a move to North Vancouver and I just so happen to live near Barre Fitness North Shore (pictured above), which is kind of funny because I used to live a block from their Yaletown location!

I went to my first class at the North Shore location yesterday morning – the 7:15am Barre Fitness with the incredibly lithe Rebecca – and loved it so much I ended up getting their new member special, a 2-week unlimited pass for $40. Let the butt beautifying begin!

Click here to read my story about Barre Fitness for BCLiving.ca to learn about the company philosophy and what to expect when you attend your first class.

 

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quinoa chickpea salad

February is Apple Month. We’re so lucky to have access to fresh, crispy, delicious, nutritious, local apples in the winter here in BC!

One of my go-to afternoon snacks is an apple, a handful of nuts and seeds (usually almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds), and a piece of aged cheddar cheese, but sometimes I branch out with my apple consumption and bake them into a decadent apple pie or crisp (check out this recipe for my amazing walnut ginger apple crumble).

I had not, however, used apples in a salad before, and as I’m really trying to make my salads more snazzy (so I’ll eat more of them) I got really excited when I saw Julie Van Rosendaal‘s quinoa salad recipe.

BC Tree Fruits is having a recipe contest between seven local chefs, foodies and celebs this month – Julie is one of them. You can see the rest of the recipes, including the super yummy hyssop caramel apple jam from Cibo Trattoria and Uva Wine Bar‘s executive chef Faizal Kassam (which I’ve also tried and loved), at applemonth.com, and by voting for your favourite recipe you could win a luxury Okanagan getaway!

Quinoa Salad with BC Apples, Chickpeas, Feta and Curry

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed in a fine sieve
  • 1/4 cup golden or sultana raisins
  • 19 oz (540ml) canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • large handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
  • 1 tart BC Tree Fruits apple, chopped, skin on
  • 1/4 cup canola or olive oil
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp curry paste or powder
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts or almonds

Instructions

  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions, and set aside in a wide salad bowl to cool.
  2. Add the raisins while the quinoa is still warm so they plump up.
  3. Once cooled, add the chickpeas, parsley, feta and apple.
  4. Shake the olive oil, vinegar, honey and curry together in a jar, and drizzle over the quinoa salad.
  5. Toss, then sprinkle with nuts just before serving.
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