Superfood Smoothies

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If there is one you should know about me, it is that I absolutely love a nutrient dense smoothie in the Morning – smoothies are super quick [I am always on the go] and extremely nutritious + delicious! Honestly, what better way to start your day!?

In my last blog post [Morning Routine],  I mentioned that my “go-to” smoothies incorporate the “Fab Four” formula developed by the stunning holistic expert and nutritionist Kelly LeVeque [Be Well By Kelly – #bewellsmoothie]. To further understand the benefits of this formula, I would highly recommend listening to the fantastic podcast episode with The Skinny Confidential and Be Well By Kelly –  podcast link. It is honestly so informational!

Incorporated into my smoothies are amazing superfoods that are nutrient dense and provide a ton of health benefits – here are some of my absolute favorites:

Maca Powder

Maca Powder [aka. magic powder] has been a recent addition to my smoothie and lets just say, I wish I added this superfood sooner – I am honestly addicted! What is Maca you ask? The Maca plant grows in central Peru in the high plateaus of the Andes mountains. With its root used for medicinal, this plant had quickly gained popularity as there are so many amazing health benefits surrounding the consumption of Maca – I mean, the butterscotch like taste is also an added bonus:

  • Increases energy levels
  • Improves sex drive [gives a real libido boost]+ improves fertility
  • Regulates hormone balance
  • Reduces anxiety + enhances mental clarity [reduces cortisol levels]
  • Improves acne
  • Improves hair growth

Spirulina

I have to admit, when I tried spirulina for the first time, I absolutely did not love it – for some reason I could not get used to the  “earthiness” taste. However, after giving spirulina a few chances by integrating small amounts at a time [i.e., 1/2 a teaspoon], I soon could not live without spirulina powder in my smoothies – now, I even quite enjoy the taste [quite refreshing in nature – no pun intended]! For those who are not privy to spirulina, is a type of bacteria [microalgae] referred to as “blue-green alga” and it grows in both fresh + salt water. A single tablespoon of spirulina powder provides an immense amount of nutrients that are essential for your body [just about every nutrient we need]:

  • Protein [4 grams] + contains all of the amino acids we need
  • Vitamin B1
  • Vitamin B2
  • Vitamin B3
  • Copper
  • Iron

When I first started researching everything and anything spirulina, I was surprised to learn that it is also an incredible source of protein [very high] – I mean, how amazing is that! As a Pescetarian and someone with a highly restrictive diet due to food allergies/intolerances, I often have a difficult time finding a good protein source for my smoothies.  Depending on what type of ingredients I put in my smoothie, aside from hemp protein I am loving that spirulina is an additional protein option!

Seeds [Flax + Chia]

Flax and chia seeds are absolute favourites of mine at the moment. Just like the other ingredients I use, there are so many amazing benefits to consuming both flax and chia seeds:

Flax Seeds

In addition to being a complete protein, flax seeds are high in fiber which aids in digestion. What I also love about flax seeds is that it is fabulous for your hair and skin due to the fatty acids and B vitamins it contains –  I am 100% up for consuming anything that will help my hair healthy and skin glowing!

Chia Seeds

For good reason, chia seeds are trending at the moment – although I consume a lot of these seeds throughout the day, If I could sprinkle them on everything I eat, I 100% would! Similar to flax seeds, chia seeds are a fantastic source of fiber, protein, calcium, magnesium and zinc – they also make you feel full as they expand [into a jelly like substance]. I mean, what more can you ask for in a seed!?

Greens [Spinach]

A handful of greens is an absolute must in my smoothies – it is honestly the perfect way to get them in each day! Although I sometimes use kale, spinach is my number “go-to” green; it blends perfectly and you can’t even taste it [I promise]! Loaded with tons of nutrients, spinach is rich in omega-3s, iron, protein and vitamins [A, C + E] and has an amazing ability to restore your energy levels and improve the quality of your blood. Better yet, this dark, leafy green is fantastic for your bone health, skin and hair – Popeye was definitely on to something with his spinach consumption!

Cheers to loving yourself enough to fuel your body with fabulous nutrient dense superfood smoothies!

Lots of love,

Sara Locke – XOXO

Morning Routine

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There is nothing that I love more than starting my day off with a strong mindset to tackle a busy workday that lies ahead; with this, comes a well-rounded morning routine focusing on my physical and mental well-being. A wise man [Benjamin Franklin] once said, “daily habits create success – early to bed, early to rise, makes you healthy, wealthy and wise.”

As an HR Leader, I often wear many hats – this means I need to ensure that I am mentally prepared to switch gears [tasks] at any point throughout the day in order to be the best leader I can be for my amazing team. So what does a typical Morning look like for me prior to heading into the office?

5AM Wake-up Call

I usually begin each Morning with a 5AM wake-up call [bright + early]. I know 5AM may seem beyond early, but honestly, this is a perfect time for me to wake up and build mindfulness first thing in the Morning prior to getting my fitness on at F45 – trust me, it works and your body will thank you! Also, real talk – there is something so magical about waking up early in Toronto while the city lights are still beaming and at the streets are peaceful [talk about Zen]!

Lemon Water + Apple Cider Vinegar

Waking up  to lemon water with apple cider vinegar [+ sometimes honey and chia seeds] is honestly a dream and beyond refreshing! Maybe it is because I love all things lemon, but what better way to kick-start your productive day than with an amazing beverage [hot or cold] which contains so many health benefits:

  • Keeps your skin blemish free
    – The vitamin C component in lemons will help decrease wrinkles and blemishes; your skin will look/feel rejuvenated, clean and glowing [yes and yes!]
  • Restores the pH balance + reduces inflammation 
    – Lemon is one of the most alkaline foods you can find, which will aid in reducing your body’s overall acidity levels
  • Boosts the immune system + fights infections
    – Lemons are high in vitamin C which is the most important macro-nutrient for our Immune System [bye bye colds]
  • Detoxifies the liver + aids in kidney function
    – Lemon water will help flush out any unwanted material, while preventing calcium build up in the kidney

Journaling – Five Minute Journal

If you have yet to purchase the Five Minute Journal, I would 100% suggest heading to your local Chapters/Indigo or even Amazon to purchase one – this journal is a must-have to start [and end] your day on a positive note/with gratitude. Based on positive psychology research, the Five Minute Journal has been designed to improve your overall well-being and happiness by focusing on the good in your life and becoming more mindful. Amazing right!?

The Five Minute Journal consists of both a Morning routine and an Evening routine:

Morning Routine

  • Gratitude List – Three things you are grateful for
  • Creating a Better Day – Three things that would  make your day great
  • Daily Affirmation – A statement of what you want in your life

Evening Routine

  • The Amazing Three – Three amazing things that happened during your day
  • Making the Day Better – A statement of what you would change throughout your day

Physical Activity

Physical activity first thing in the Morning has quickly become a part of my daily routine.  Alongside many health benefits [i.e., brain cell growth, boosts mood and combats stress], without-a-doubt, I feel stronger both mentally and physically – let’s just say, I feel like I can conquer anything the day brings me with a positive attitude, bright smile and a sense of ease!

Alongside running and pilates, F45 [functional fitness in 45-minutes] has quickly become an obsession of mine and I thank three of my best girlfriends for being my inspiration to join such an outstanding community! For those who are curious, F45 was founded in Australia [2012] with one idea in mind – to offer a 45 minute high-intensity circuit training workout. Trust me, you will never walk out of  an F45 studio without sweating! What I love about F45 is that every day is a different workout; a workout is never repeated as each class is carefully designed from a database of over 3,000 different exercises.

Side Note: Shout-out to the F45 Bayview Village team for welcoming me with open arms and for always pushing me beyond my limits each class [just what I need]!

Meditation

Meditation is very new for me, thanks to The Skinny Confidential [I am OBSESSED with her Podcast]! Quite truthfully, the thought of meditation was quite intimidating/scary as I am someone who is “on-the-go” all of the time and it is tough for me to truly relax. However, to ensure I am the best version of myself when I step into the office each day, I knew that meditation would help me become more “zen-like” – at least I am still hoping!

Following my workout, I try my best to take the time to listen to a guided meditation for at least 5-10 minutes [that is really all you need] – so far, I am LOVING it! Although at times I find my thoughts drifting all over the place and I can’t stay focused on the guide, I know that this is completely normal and with time, my meditation practice will only improve. Some amazing meditation Apps to help you get started on your meditation journey are: [1] Head Space [2] Insight Timer [3] Calm – I would suggest the Guided Meditations to start!

Brain Fuel – Fab 4 Smoothie

I am someone who absolutely loves smoothies – it is quick, delicious and super nutritious. However, I must admit, I was someone who use to love having copious amounts of fruit in my smoothie [thanks Booster Juice for the intro years ago]; after listening to a Skinny Confidential Podcast featuring holistic expert and nutritionist Kelly LeVeque I soon realized that although adding fruit is completely OK [limit to 1/4 cup of fructose], too much fruit will only increase your blood sugar and will eventually store as fat.

To help balance blood sugar and to keep you full, Kelly developed a formula called “Fab Four” which is a combination of Protein, Fat, Fiber and Greens [includes superfoods]. She not only uses this formula for smoothies, but for every day nutrition – what a perfect and simple formula to follow, right!? I have two “go-to” smoothies that I absolutely love [thank you Kelly]:

Spa Smoothie

1 serving of protein powder [I use hemp seed protein]
1/4 avocado
1 tbsp of chia seeds
1 tbsp of flax seeds
1 tbsp of maca powder
1 tsp of spirulina
5 drops of BioSil collagen
Juice from a small lemon [3 tbs]
1 handful of spinach
1 small cucumber [peeled]
1/4 cup of mint
1/2 cup of  coconut water
1/2 cups of water

“Cinnamon Toast Crunch” Smoothie

1 serving of protein powder [I use hemp seed protein]
1/4 avocado
1 tbsp of chia seeds
1 tbsp of flax seeds
1 tbsp of maca powder
1 tbsp of cocoa
1 tsp of cinnamon
1 tbsp of sunflower seed butter
5 drops of BioSil collagen
1 handful of spinach
1/4 cup of banana
1 date [optional – for added sweetness]
1/2 cup of unsweetend coconut milk
1/2 cups of water

Podcasts

I truly believe in continuous personal and professional development. So much so, that I have made a promise to myself to take the time to do at least one professional development activity [PDA] a day. As a “lone-wolf” in HR for the company I work for, I am continuously looking to enhance my skill-sets any chance get [daily motto: you cant grow without learning]. What better way to be inspired and to set yourself up for success each day than by listening to a motivational podcast any time/any where [i.e., cleaning, folding laundry, doing your makeup, driving, etc.] – how efficient right!? Believe me, if you are not privy to podcasts, I highly recommend you hop on the train or at least give it a try – there is a ton of amazing experts in various fields you can gain knowledge from and they do not cost money!

Some of my absolute favourite podcasts that I listen to on a regular basis are:

  • The Skinny Confidential
  • The Rich Roll Podcast
  • The School of Greatness – Lewis Howes
  • Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations + Master Class
  • The Tony Robbins Podcast
  • The Tim Ferris Show
  • The Gary Vee Audio Experience
  • The Joe Rogan Experience

Cheers to early morning routines and setting yourself up for success on a daily basis!

Lots of love,

Sara Locke – XOXO