Pain and Healing – Part VII

There are many paths to helping people.

Moving with more ease and more movement is the best long term recovery strategy.

As we continue to shift your thoughts and beliefs about pain, consider this: pushing through pain will not make you stronger or more flexible. It actually increases risk to sensitizing the nervous system even more.

The goal of movement should be more ease now. You should be thinking afterwards, “I don’t regret doing this movement.” Our breath test will tell us we are doing the right thing for our systems.

The neuro-immune system is impacted when you push too hard. The commonly held belief that pain is all in your mind is the main reason people push themselves. You don’t have to live with it or despite it. Starting with the belief that pain is not changeable goes against the research. We have to believe that change is possible. We don’t know the degree for each person but we know it’s possible.

Let’s look at the analogy of cook and how it relates to pain. If you make a chili and add too much spice, you don’t add more spice to make it better, you add tomatoes or something else. Pushing through the pain is not going to make the pain go away.

As we have learned over the last two months, pain is highly complex, and we can’t understand all of it. But it is possible to move with ease and understand pain better.

Evidence of increased safety in movement is related how pain is experienced.

SIMs and DIMs can be explored in yoga. The ritual of yoga and breath, calms the physiology and nervous system. Layer breath with ease of movement. Body tension is danger (fight or flight/DM) and you can’t let go and experience fast, shallow breath. You may not know how tight or how to let go. Start with breathing calmly then add benign movement, then move towards more “dangerous” or complex movement. Progression turns a DIM into a SIM. Navy Seals go through a similar process in their training – that’s how they can achieve intensely incredible feats by remaining calm while working through progressively more dangerous situations.

Process. Persistence. Compassion.

Often times we experience euphoria when pain is gone. Then we quit our practice. Consider this analogy: If you were playing darts and hit the center, you might think “whoo hoo! I did it.” You feel great. You did it. But, imagine if you tried it everyday for two months. Imagine how good you’d be.

What if you throw a dart and you don’t hit the target? What does that tell you? Doing something once doesn’t tell us much about what could happen in the future with practice. Repetition is key. Start simple with breathing. Try it everyday 5 times for 5 minutes and see in a week or two weeks.

There is also the common sports analogy. Practice makes you better. Imagery and visualization can stimulate movement that is not yet possible. Watch yourself doing it. Feel yourself do it from the inside out. Yoga Nidra is a practice of guided imagery. If you are someone who keeps pushing yourself, this might be a good place of peace to start from.

Facial muscles even feed into the parasympathic nervous system. Research suggests that when we clench our eyes, ears, mouth, tongue it sends a danger signal to our brain. Softening around these orfices is a SIM. Setting an hourly timer to consciously relax the muscles in our face for 20-30 seconds helps us to develop our neuroplasticity.

Pain can be so wound up that little things can have a big influence on it. One system can change another system. We don’t know the degrees and complexity.

Neil Pearson, physio and yoga therapist shares 5 steps for pain care and can be found on his website.  Here are 2 things to consider when looking for a practitioner to help you heal:

  1. Feel heard. This can change our pain.
  2. Someone who is a helper, a part of the process, not doing something to you. The client is the doer. This is key to the whole process. The practitioner should applaud lowering of pain in the session. Then give something to do to work towards maintaining that lowered pain.

It’s a Butterfly effect: 1 small change can change the relationship of the whole system. 

I’d like to conclude with a Summary of what is known about Pain and Healing.

Persistent pain is pain that is often undiagnosed from tests and not an infection. Doctors don’t know what to do. The complicated part is taking ownership of what’s really going on (eg. Hating your job, childhood trauma, diet). Are you coping in a healthy way? We acknowledge it is scary to nudge your comfort zone.

What we know is pain is subjective based on the individual. Your brains interpretation of what is going on is a protective response of a trigger. Further, emotional pain can manifest physically. It can be related to the environment, structural, sensory input, gut, thoughts, support systems, what you’ve been told or haven’t been told. When we feel helpless or out of control, that is danger. When we feel danger it can strengthen the fear, tension, sympathetic nervous system and pain. Where pain is, is not the problem. Pain is saying, pay attention to me. Low vs high pain tolerance is an interpretation by the brain of what is going on. We can work on flipping the script on how we use words. Finding the positives (SIMs) and retraining safety in our body/mind.

Remember, change is possible! Explore these on your own to develop your awareness:

  1. Educate yourself on pain science. 20 minutes a day can decrease pain. Knowledge is power. When you are empowered, you are in control.
  2. Stress exacerbates symptoms. When quiet, symptoms go away. Notice the quiet moments – change has happened! We can’t think clearly when we are in pain, we ruminate, get irritable and can’t recognize the good moments. Journal and plot out the good and bad moments over the week. Then make a decision about what they can do about it.
  3. Recognize, Reduce, Eliminate. Try Pain Train or Symptom Tracker app if journaling is producing too much anxiety.
  4. Support Groups can be a danger if members complain all the time and increase fear.
  5. It takes more than 1 time with a practitioner for a shift/healing. Be patient. Don’t resist. Own it. Ride the wave. Keep in mind that the first visit the practitioner could be having an off day or you could be having an off day. By the third visit some shift should occur. Could be any number of reasons why you don’t vibe with a practitioner. There is no fault, just that relationship in that moment didn’t work (context). You may or may not be in the right headspace to hear or listen. Instant gratification can’t be the expectation. Keep working through everything under the surface.
  6. Self development: create a web of support. You don’t have to do it alone. If your friend was in the same situation what advice would you give them? All the things that we do, is because we said yes. Do you need to take something off your plate? Do you need to say no? Walk more? Drink water? Stop smoking? Are you ready to take the next step? What do you already have? Contemplate that it might not be people, it could be animals or music or writing. Healing comes from within. No one is going to do it for you.

In health,

Lindsay

Pain and Healing – Part V

 The Food Fallacy: The idea that eating should be pleasurable, social, fun, and comforting is a marketing ploy. This is how food addition begins. When our eating experience produces pleasure, the biological process in the brain is getting a hit a dopamine. We then want to reproduce that experience over and over again. Think about kids and candy, cake, juice – anything with sugar. Sugar addiction is a really hard habit to stop.

When you go to a restaurant there is an “expectation” that the food be beautifully plated, colourful, alluring in smell, sight and taste. We are eating to please our senses, or expectations, our desires – it is no longer about fuelling and nourishing our body.

When we learn how to eat in a way that is appropriate for our nourishment needs – to provide nutrients, to balance the gut and remove toxins we suddenly find ourselves with more energy, more clarity, less pain and illness, maybe we lose weight, have less inflammation, have better skin, sleep better, etc. Our food can still be tasty and flavourful but perhaps the experience of eating becomes duller than when we eat for desire. When our food brings out body and minds back into balance, we no longer need the dopamine spikes to make us feel better. The purpose of eating is to refuel, not to induce pleasure.

Want to live healthier, longer? It’s time for a paradigm shift in how we approach food and eating.

Neuroscience and Ayuvedic practioner Dr. Kulreet Chaudry outlines how we can use food as medicine to improve our digestion and how our gut health is intimately linked with our brain health and thus full body health.

Three ways we can support ourselves and heal our gut through food is:

  1. Tri-Dosha tea: one teaspoon of each: coriander, cumin and fennel. Steep in 4 cups of boiling water and sip throughout the day. This will help improve digestion.
  2. Take Triphala, 1000mg at bedtime. This will help remove toxins and heal the gut mucosa.
  3. Eat your heaviest meal at lunch and the lightest meal at dinner.

Our gut microbiomes is a huge living population that impacts every part of our health. What is often seen as a structural issue is often related to inflammation, as is the case of migraines. The blood brain barrier is mimicked in the gut, so we can prevent neurological conditions through the gut. The majority of neurotransmitters that talk to the brain, come from the gut.

In general, pain is often seen as structural issue. We use medication to hide pain from the brain BUT you are not getting to the cause of the pain. Dr. Kulreet has found that 90% of pain is related to inflammation. Inflammation caused by the food we eat. The blood brain barrier is mimicked in the gut. It’s kind of a like a canary in a coal mine. This means we can prevent neurological conditions through the gut. The neurotransmitters that relay information from our body to the brain, mostly come from the gut. It talks to the brain. She describes leaky gut as a dumb gut. A gut that has lost intelligence because the shift in the population of gut bacteria that prevents inflammation. There is also an autoimmune component so there are lot of things happening all at once.

The take-away? Healing happens on many different levels and effects the physical body Be mindful of what you eat. Consider consulting an Ayurvedic practitioner and find out what you need for your constitution to maximize your health and wellness.

In health,

Lindsay

Pain and Healing – Part III

This week I am reflecting the interview with David Butler who is a physiotherapist and educator on pain science. I learned two new terms DIMS (danger in me) and SIMS (safety in me). DIMs and SIMs are used to describe experiences that either increase pain (DIMs) or decrease pain (SIMs). This has implications for our immune/inflammation systems, our nervous system and brain network.

Pain science tells us that pain occurs when the brain perceives danger in the world. The brain perceives safety when we have less pain. Often times in yoga we experience a stopping point. Such as, we gain a certain amount of strength and stop or we are unable to relax beyond a certain point. At some point in our lives we have learned not to advocate for ourselves or we feel too unsafe to be able to let go. From a movement perspective, we can break movements down even more in order to “trick” our nervous system to strengthen more or to relax. From a psychological perspective we can explore beliefs of why we feel unworthy of getting stronger or letting go.

The language we use in how we express our story of pain also plays a role in how we perceive pain. For example, instead of focusing on the negative (the swollen knee), focus on the positive (you are healing already) because you came in for therapy. This is an example of turning a danger in me (DIM) into a safety in me (SIM). Another example of a DIM is blaming your health care practitioner. Change it to a SIM by thinking that your health care provider is trying to help you. Not sure how your use of language frames your pain? Have your partner or friend report on the language you use. Expressions such as “my back is out…” or “it feels like a knife,” are a DIM. The story we tell ourselves over and over again impacts our brain by becoming ingrained. Even the expectation of pain can increase our pain experience.

David described the Protectometer which is a metaphorical device to demonstrate the ups and downs of DIMs and SIMs. The balance shifts up and down. Education and exposure to movement are powerful SIMs. So are taking care of our emotions, well-being, and safety. For example, going for walk (movement) and enjoying the weather (happy emotions) increases your SIMs. Our immune system is impacted by SIMs.

A DIM at one level may not be a DIM at another level. For example, at work your neck hurts but it doesn’t hurt at home. Explore what aspect of work is making your neck hurt.

A SIM or a DIM can be something as simple as a thought. In fact a thought can change a DIM to a SIM. For someone in chronic pain going to the movies for the first time in 6 years could be a SIM. We need conscious awareness to go through this process of recognizing DIMs and SIMs. They tend to hide in hard places to find. A loved one who knows you well, a yoga teacher or a therapist might be able to help you with this process. There could be 30-40 DIMs in someone with chronic pain.

For people in pain, David Butler recommends

1) looking for a health care practitioner who is scientifically aware and believes recovery is possible (very few doctors are well versed in pain science). The biomedical model doesn’t work because it operates on the causal. A biopsychosocial model requires discussion, explaining and curiosity.

2) Look online and familiarize yourself with SIMs/DIMs/Protectometer.

3) Seek out Level A evidence from studies that are a trusted resource.

4) Start a journal of your SIMs and DIMs. There are apps for symptom tracker than can help, if a journal is a DIM.

4) Adopt a sense of curiosity and discuss what you find. Awareness follows and then clarity arises.

5) Be aware of your frame of reference – we may not notice what changes when pain goes away.

Here are 10 Target Concepts to get into this new way of thinking.

  1. Pain is normal, personal, real
  2. Danger sensors, not pain sensors. It is the brain that weighs whether or not it will hurt. We don’t have pain neurons.
  3. Pain and tissue damage are rarely related. It’s all about context.
  4. Pain depends on Danger and Safety. More danger = more pain.
  5. Pain involves distributed brain activity. Different areas of the brain are affects such as memory, fear, future, vision and smell.
  6. Pain relies on context. What we see, hear, smell, taste, touch, say, think, believe, places, people, what we do.
  7. Pain is a protected output. This mean other things change our immune system and nervous system. For example, someone with back pain likely has gut (digestive) issues.
  8. We are bioplastic in that we can change. At any age our brains can change.
  9. Learning about pain can change you. Understand why you hurt.
  10. Active treatment fixes pain. Doing, learning, dealing. Can’t be passive (pill popping).

In health,

Lindsay

Pain and Healing – Part II

Today I am reviewing the talk by Tasha Stanton a neuroscientist from Australia who researches the complexities of pain. I learned that there are many biological variations in every person that could effect the mechanisms of any given treatment. Essentially, the higher the perceived danger is versus the perceived safety, neither of which is not always in our consciousness, can have on impact on our treatment for pain.

Tasha further teaches us that our senses play a key role in our experience of pain. Research has shown that one sense can modulate another. For example, vision plays an important biological role in the experience of pain. When we can see the body part that is experiencing the pain, the pain can actually decrease. Even our perception of how a body part looks can change how pain is experienced. Participants in one study who had rheumatoid arthritis were shown altered pictures of their hands where they look healthier and the patients reported a reduction or elimination of pain. This strongly speaks to how context is critical to how pain is felt.

Here are 5 things you should know if you or someone you know experiences persistent pain.

1) You can become an advocate of your condition. Your recovery should be a partnership between you and your healthcare provider.

Recovery is significantly faster for people who actively participate in their recovery rather than people who passively receive care from someone else.

2) We need to rethink how we define the “causes” of pain. For example, pain in your foot is not a pain signal from the foot to the brain that the foot is hurt. It is a danger signal that something is not functioning optimally. This means pain may not be a tissue issue – this is why stretching away back pain won’t work.

3) There is hope: Our nervous system is often forgotten and the brain interprets in the context of what is going on in your life, your past experiences, beliefs about pain.

4) Surround yourself with positive people that believe in you and who support you. This is critical in how you frame your experience and your recovery.

5) A short reduction of pain or a sensation of pleasure means there is hope for long term possibilities. This means your nervous system/body is giving you an experience of pain that has been modified (no pain!). Worse pain doesn’t mean more damage either because we can have a pain experience without damage!

 

In health,

 

Lindsay

 

Pain and Healing – Part I

Mid November I attended an online Pain and Healing Conference hosted by my teacher and yoga therapist Susi Hately of Functional Synergy. There has been a lot of research in recent years on Pain Science and the implications that has for people who suffer from pain.

Over the course of the next few weeks I am going to work at unpacking some of this vital information in a series of blog posts so you can be more informed and empowered to take back your control from pain and move with hope towards a brighter, pain free future.

Of the 10 speakers from the conference there were underlying themes and concepts that kept arising. My intention is to summarize some of the findings so that you can have a better understanding of the paradigm shift that is occurring with modern pain science research findings so that you will feel more informed and empowered to take back control from the pain that you or a loved one is experiencing.

The biggest and most important findings are four-fold. One, pain is not where the problem is. Two, pain is a protector. Three, pain is complicated and we are complex beings with complex systems so don’t give up. Four, hope is essential and possible.

There is an incredible trifecta of pain researchers in Austraila that are focusing on pain education. Pain research findings teach us that pain is a warning signal or a protector. This means, rather than perceiving pain as something being broken in our bodies, our brain is perceiving danger that something is not functioning quite as it should. This provides hope. Danger means we can get out of danger by doing something. By perceiving that something is broken. We are more likely to give up and see it as something that is long lasting and can’t change. Luckily this simple isn’t true.

Movement is critical in reducing pain at both the level of tissues and the spinal cord.  It is at the tissue and spinal cord level that our body communicates with the brain. Like Skinners salivating dogs, we too can condition movements to be either painful or not painful. Simply by imagining desired movements in our minds, we can reduce our pain and promote recovery.

Movement and visualization starts by reducing our stress. Many of us don’t even realize we under stress. It has become so normalized we don’t recognize it. When we are in pain and/or our body is in a state of stress – there are protective agencies at play.  We need to return our systems to a non-protective state by tapping into our parasympathetic nervous system through breath and movement. Therapeutic yoga is an excellent way to train our nervous system.

The research teaches us that we bioplastic human beings. This means our systems are adaptive. Pain can go. When we change the context, pain can come back. Like I said before, pain doesn’t indicate something is broken. This is really good news!

Here are 5 things to know if you or someone you know experiences persistent pain.

1) Pain is real to the person experiencing it.

2) Pain is a protector. Pain acts as a warning from the brain of what it thinks you might do if you keep going.

3) There are many contributors to pain. There is lot of research that shows pain can come from all over your life – people, places, things external to you can be a trigger, as well as thoughts and beliefs.

4) The good news is we are fundamentally adaptable and recovery is possible. We can train our systems to be less protective.

5) The less good news, it’s not easy BUT everyone has the resources. It’s doable but it’s a journey.

In health,

 

Lindsay

 

My next post will be about neuroscience researcher Tasha Stanton who discusses the complexity of pain…

Private Yoga Downtown Toronto

From February 13-16, 2018 I will be teaching private sessions at The Coach House at 7 Admiral Road in the Annex. 

Schedule:

Tuesday (Feb 13): 11am – 3pm

Wednesday (Feb 14): 2pm – 7pm

Thursday (Feb 15): 11am – 3pm

Friday (Feb 16): 1pm – 6pm

Sign up now for a one hour introductory session and find out how rehabilitative yoga can change how you move, how you relate to your body, and unlock your healing potential for long-term sustainable results.

Aging Gracefully

Several years ago, overwhelmed by beauty industry standards of what beauty is and feeling dissatisfied with my own expectations for myself, I learned to let go.

A big part of the process for me was doing a detox that included switching to natural skin, hair and cleaning products. I found a teacher that I admired, who helped educate and encourage me.

I threw out all my chemical laden creams, toners, washes, scrubs and serums. I believe it is vital to educate yourself on the ingredients that go into the products you use for your own sake, your family’s and the environment’s.

There are so many natural, organic  products out there, that the shift is easier than ever. Think about it.  Skin is a major detoxification organ.  Why would we cover it up, inject it with poisons and soak it in chemicals that might seep into our bloodstream?

Eating healthy food gives our skin the nutrients it needs for a healthy glow and may even eliminate skin disorders like eczema and recurring rashes (If you’re reading this, you may want to speak with a naturopath about an elimination diet). If you eat clean and use natural skin and hair care products, you may find that your complexion clears up and your natural beauty shines through.

In recent years, companies have had ad campaigns for natural beauty and allowing your inner beauty to shine through. I am excited that more and more people are starting to get on board and recognize true beauty for what it is – it is our health, our energy, our confidence, our intelligence, not just what we look like on the outside.

While it can be challenging to shift your perspective from one ideal to another, it is a practice like anything else. For me, yoga was my support system. I gradually began to wear less and less make up. Now only on special occasions–save for daily mascara–do I wear makeup. When I do, I feel unnatural and made up.

I am now comfortable in my own skin. I’m still coming to terms with the gray hairs that peak through and still cover up the odd blemish, but I feel lighter, naturally pretty and less concerned about what others might think.

Does this sound like a radical change? It is!

Aside from changing what you put on your skin and in your body, another holistic approach to beauty is cosmetic acupuncture. It is a natural, safe and effective way to improve complexion, reduce signs of aging, to look and feel younger. The process is free from chemicals and pain.

Cosmetic Facial Acupuncture works with your body’s innate wisdom to tighten pores, brighten eyes and improve complexion. Collagen production and muscle tone improve, fine lines are eliminated and deep wrinkles are diminished. Acupuncture also helps reduce bags and double chin, lifts drooping eyelids and helps to slow hair loss and graying.

Fine sterile needles are used in conjunction with facial massage and specialty cream to increase local blood circulation and improves metabolism.  You may find that the process helps reduce acne and scarring.

To complement cosmetic acupuncture, you may also want to try face yoga. Face yoga helps to exercise and tone neck and facial muscles. When you work the muscles of the face, suppleness and elasticity improve. It may stimulate collagen production and allow more oxygen to get to muscles. Face yoga also helps to reduce stress and tension so you feel and look rejuvenated and refreshed. It’s easy to practice for long lasting, sustainable results.

Traditional Chinese Medicine acupuncture practitioner Daniel Kanner and I are offering Aging Gracefully Cosmetic Acupuncture and Face Yoga packages at 25% off for the holidays. For package details visit my promotions page or www.acuhealth.ca and connect with Daniel for more details.

Yoga Rehab: Workshop for Back Pain

yoga rehab photoPain and discomfort doesn’t have to be a normal part of everyday life. Yoga Rehab is designed for yogis, those new to yoga and anyone who is curious. The aim is to help you live a more functional, effective and strain-free way that is unique to your goals. My principles of movement will help you get stronger and build more stamina, flexibility and balance without pain, strain or tension.

What can I expect in these workshops? You will learn simple (but not necessarily easy) movements that will help improve mobility and decrease pain. For yogis, you will discover a whole new perspective on movement and take your practice to the next level! There will be a focus on breath work, mindfulness and developing body awareness woven throughout the workshop. This is not a typical yoga class so yoga experience is not required.

When we move better, we feel better and we can enjoy life more.

My next 2 workshops are called Yoga Rehab and it will be held Saturday, September 30th and October 14th at McMaster Fitness 2-4pm. Cost is $45 + hst. Participants will receive a handout and free practice video.

Contact me to register or ask a question.

Corporate Yoga the Best Investment You Can Make

If you were guaranteed a 300% return on your investment would you sign on the dotted line? Absolutely. What about when it comes to your health? Despite the research and statistics that are out there, we continue to play Russian Roulette with our health. We work hard to make money so we can live the life we desire. But what is all that money worth if we are not healthy enough to enjoy our lives the way we want to?

When our health declines, it doesn’t happen overnight. It is a slow and steady descent that is often difficult to recover from and usually results in one or more losses in our lives. We are proactive with our finances: we save; we invest for the future. Now is the time to also start being proactive in our health and the path to better health can begin at work.

Companies want employees with unique specialized skills: people who go above and beyond expectations. They anticipate challenges and respond to opportunities that create growth and value for the company. Whether it is sales, marketing, finance, law, or something in between, companies want their employees to be at the top of their game and to be productive all day, every day. Unfortunately, the reality is that our bodies are not physiologically designed to withstand the demands and stresses we impose upon ourselves during long busy days at the office.

You don’t wake up one day and decide to be sick or unwell. Unless you are in an accident, there is likely something happening over time that causes the body to break down and become ill. Stress has become normalized in the workplace; many people don’t even realize that they are stressed. General busy-ness, hurriedness and day-to-day chaos place our bodies in a constant state of fight or flight for extended periods of time. Our natural state should be one of rest and repose, which is now becoming the exception rather than the rule.

Burnout rates are higher than ever. Sick leave, stress leave, and mental health leave are becoming regular occurrences. These conditions aren’t only a cost to the health of the person afflicted but they also cost that person’s company time, money and manpower.

So what are smart modern proactive companies doing about this? Leading companies are working with health and wellness service providers who offer solutions to these problems, health and wellness providers like me. Companies expect a lot from their employees. Workers likewise give a lot of their time and effort to be successful and productive. So why not invest in yourself and your people? When companies invest in their employees’ wellness they can expect three dollars in cost savings and benefits for every dollar spent.

Corporate Yoga is a wonderful proactive approach that companies are bringing on board to help keep executives and their employees healthy, happy and productive. Often times when someone hears the word yoga, they immediately think of hyper-flexibility and fitness. Yoga is so much more than that and it doesn’t require any flexibility whatsoever. Yoga is an adaptable system that affects the body, the mind and the spirit in profound ways that literally change how we think, act, and feel.

Companies can help workers improve their mental clarity, boost creativity and sharpen their problem solving skills. The beauty of yoga is that it extends itself off the yoga mat and out of the yoga class into your day-to-day work and activities. You learn mental and physical skills that you first apply with some effort, but that will become second nature.

Looking for a long-term solution to improving the bottom line, cultivating healthy workers and maintaining happy bosses?

A good corporate yoga teacher is your trusted advisor who will work to understand your company’s needs and provide solutions that are customized and unique to your workplace and its people.

To learn how you can energize your workplace from individuals to teams to departments email me at lindsay@innergycorporateyoga.com for a complimentary onsite consultation. Customized. Informed. Educated. Wellness for life.

Make Summer More Enjoyable Through Food!

Yoga and food are inextricably linked but eating healthy is more difficult than ever. Eating healthy everyday is essential to our health and wellbeing. We need to eat nourishing food to maintain energy levels, stave off illness and encourage healthy relationships, etc.

I work irregular hours and have no motivation to shop, prep and cook dinner at the end of the day. Supper Works in Toronto has been an answer to my woes. I go into the store once a month and prep fresh, healthy dinner entrees that I take home and put in my freezer. That means more time for me to enjoy my summer and no-brainer dinners.

Below Susan Patterson, the owner of SupperWorks Leaside, provides a few ideas how you can make your summer more enjoyable through food:

  1. Slow down and plan ahead to makes dinnertime less stressful. Being organized doesn’t have to take much time but it can save a lot of last minute headaches- and will certainly save you time in the end. You might even invest in setting up a weekly meal planner. Plan and shop for meals a few days or even a week in advance so you can be sure you have the ingredients you need on hand. Keep very perishable items and some ready-to-cook dinners in the freezer to save having to shop frequently. You don’t want to have to run to the store from the cottage or even stop on your way home from work to pick up one essential but missing ingredient. Wouldn’t it be nicer to go straight home?
  2. Try some fresh new foods. This is a great time of year to try something new. You might find some new vegetables or at least some interesting variations on familiar foods at local farmers markets. Think heirloom tomatoes, purple carrots, the many varieties of mushrooms. Take your kids and let them choose – they will be more likely to eat their veggies!
  3. Cook extras. That way you will have easy leftovers for lunches or spontaneous dinners when unexpected company drops by. BBQ’d meats, chicken, shrimp or fish are also great to use on salads the next day for lunch or a lighter dinner. For example, all of SupperWorks’ Flat Iron steaks and marinated chickens such as Lemon Rosemary Chicken make a bed of leafy green salad something special.
  4. Speaking of salads, always have salad ingredients on hand – some of my favourites are berries, nuts, seeds, mixed greens, avocado, crumbles of cheese (goat!). A great salad can accompany almost anything – like a delicious burger – to complete an easy, summery supper. For an easy and delightful salad dressing, try one-third good quality olive oil, one-third balsamic vinegar and one-third maple syrup.
  5. Quiche is another excellent staple in the summer. It can serve as a breakfast, lunch or dinner and comes in many different varieties. It can be served hot or cold. And it’s an first-rate source of protein.
  6. Have some fun with your child (age 8 or over) at a special Saturday morning Bring Your Child session at SupperWorks. Children learn how to put meals together and experience shows that children who have a hand in making dinner are much more likely to enjoy eating it – and are even willing to try more adventurous foods!
  7. Ok, one more thing. You’re probably not going to be happy if you add a few pounds to your frame eating all this good food. It is bathing suit season after all. So enjoy all the flavours but watch your portion sizes. Esstablish a portion size that works for you and use it as a guideline. And get out and enjoy all the opportunities for outdoor exercise!

SupperWorks Leaside and SupperWorks to Go! is located at 105 Vanderhoof Ave in Toronto.

Save Time. Save Money. Eat Better.

Pick Up and Delivery options are available. SupperWorks to Go now means you can drop in and select meals that have been pre-made with out the commitment!

Mention this article for a complimentary side dish

(up to $8 value) when you make a purchase!