I definitely have a big sweet tooth, my roomie knows I’m always down for Dominos and cookie dough. (@sunflowersandseersucker lol) But, there are plenty of healthy alternatives to your favourite snacks and treats! I wanted to share some of my favourites.
These are SO good! Perfect salad topper or snack. Chickpeas are high in fiber and protein to keep you energized. Here is a great recipe you can try!
This one is perfect for those hot summer days when you need something cold and refreshing. This recipe only calls for 2 ingredients! You can try this with any fruit you like!
The simplest recipe ever! This dip is perfect for dipping any fruit or vegetable with! My favourite is apples, so good! You can find the recipe here. What is yours?
Sunrise Detox Smoothie
This smoothie is so sweet and refreshing. The perfect smoothie for detoxing your body after too much sugar. Check out the recipe here!
Ballet has always been a huge part of my life, it has shaped me into the individual that I am today. I am so thankful for ballet. I wanted to share the important life lessons it has taught me throughout the years.
Left: My first Nutcracker ever, I was a Sugar Plum Fairy Attendant
Right: My good friend, Stephanie and I before our Grade 3 exam
Ballet has taught me how to be hardworking and self-motivated to achieve my goals. Ballet takes years and years of training in order to master the technique properly. I danced 6-7 days a week and remember times when I just wanted to quit and be done to have a “normal kid” experience. There were days I was so sore from the previous day but I knew the goals I wanted to achieve. Ballet is very self-disciplined, the teachers are not there to tell you how great you are doing. They are there to give you the tools for you to be the best dancer you can be. You have to apply their corrections in order to improve.
Left: Tiny Tots’ Beauty and the Beast, I was Belle and Stephanie was Maurice
Right: Tiny Tots’ Pinocchio, I was the Blue Fairy
The Importance of Taking Care of my Body
I credit dance to my love for health and fitness. Dancers know their bodies better than any other athlete, we know when we are off toe and know the slight change we need to make to fix it. We know how to listen to our bodies to know what they need. Dancers know the importance of eating healthy foods to fuel their bodies in order to perform their best. They know the importance of resting and taking care of their bodies in order to heal.
Ballet training takes many, many years in order to master the technique it requires. Ballet requires lots of patience in order to achieve your goals. You will not be able to master a perfect pirouette on your first try, maybe not even your 100th. But after lots of long days in the studio, you will get there!
When I was younger one of my ballet teachers told me how she loved how humble I was and people who were humble make the best ballet dancers. They get noticed for all of their hard work and determination without being in your face about it. I think this is an important trait as a future healthcare professional.
Nutcracker 2013: On left Vincenza as Russian Trepak, middle Taylor as Chinese Tea, on right me as Mirliton
The Importance of Teamwork
When dancing in the corps, you must rely on your fellow dancers to be there for you. Corps work together in order to stay in perfect sync. If one girl is off, that can affect the entire corps. Ballet dancers must rely on each other to know when to do the next movement. Fellow dancers are so important in order to create beautiful ballets. Ballets like Swan Lake and Giselle have the corps playing a huge role throughout the entire ballet.
I have met my best friends through dance. They are truly the most amazing people and I am so grateful for these friendships. They share all of the long hours in the studio to the most beautiful moments on stage!
A Form of Self-Care
“Everything at the ballet was beautiful”, ballet is graceful, elegant, and tough. Despite all of the blood, sweat and tears it entails, ballet is a form of expression. It is a creative outlet I got to when I need to relax and destress. Just spending 5 minutes in the studio a day, can change my whole day.
I’m so grateful for ballet. It has shaped me into the person that I am today. It makes me so happy to be apart of something so beautiful and historic. I know ballet will always be in my life.
Being a ballet dancer for many years, I have always loved be active! As flexibility was always an important aspect for a ballerina, we would do yoga as a form of cross training. Yoga is great for improving both strength and flexibility while also working on balance. Yoga is also a great way to lower stress levels and anxiety through the deep breathing and meditation. The yoga practice has been around for thousands of years, it was a way to achieve harmony between the heart and soul on the path to divine enlightenment.
My Favourite Yoga Poses
Trikonasana (or Triangle Pose)
This one is great for stretching the spine and hips! While it also strengthens the thighs, knees, and ankles, so important for a strong foundation! This pose is also good for relieving stress and improving your digestion. Try it out here!
Natarajasana (or Dancer Pose)
Of course this is one of my favourites, after being a dancer for so many years! This pose is great for practicing your balance as well as stretching your thighs and shoulders. This pose can also be modified as well! Here is a video to get you started!
Svarga Dvijasana (or Bird Of Paradise Pose)
This one took a lot of practice for me but I love it now! Standing on one leg will strengthen your calves, quadriceps, and glutes, as well as help you access and engage your core to keep you from losing your balance. Try it here!
Benefits of Practicing Yoga
Although there are numerous benefits of practicing yoga, here are the top 6:
Decrease Stress and Anxiety
Improves Quality of Life
Reduces Chronic Pain
Promotes Sleep Quality
Improves Flexibility and Balance
Promotes Healthy Eating Habits
Just because I love pictures that describe things, here is a picture of the benefits of yoga I found on Pinterest!
Here is a great vinyasa flow that any level can do! What are your favourite yoga poses?
With the new year, everyone is making resolutions and goals for a better me. My school teaches the philosophy of spirit, mind, and body as the pillars to an overall healthy individual. Wellness and health are important parts becoming the best version of you! Whether it’s physically, socially, or mentally, it all makes up your health. I wanted to share some ways to help you work on wellness this new year!
Drink more water Okay guys, I’m really good at this one in the summer but at school I tend to forget this one. Water is so important for a healthy body. It helps with nearly all of the body’s functions, especially the kidneys. Water helps flush the body of toxins as well as regulates the digestive system. I try to drink around 100oz+ a day. I use the Lilly Swell Water Bottle to help me with my water intake. Here is an article I found with more benefits of drinking water!
Take the stairs My goal each day is to take at least 10,000 steps. By opting to take the stairs instead of elevator can help increase your step intake as well as be much faster. You can also park farther away when going to the store, take the longer route to class and walk during your lunch break! Here is some creative ways to increase your steps!
Meatless Mondays Being a vegetarian, this one doesn’t really apply to me. But, I know so many people who are trying to make the switch. It can be difficult, but by designating one day a week to no meat can slowly ease you into the lifestyle. There are so many benefits to following a plant-based diet, you can check them out here!
Exercise 10 minutes or 50, it is better than no exercise at all! I know how hard it can be to get exercise in with busy schedules but, it is so important! I try to make sure I have it scheduled in for at least 20 minutes a day. Not only do I feel better about myself but It is a destressor for me. This can be hitting the gym, taking a walk or even just finding some open space. Some of my favourite ways to exercise are pilates, yoga, biking, and cardio kickboxing. Here are some body weight exercises you can do anywhere!
Mindfulness Being present in the moment is so important to be an overall healthy individual. Sometimes we get very wrapped up in everything going on we forget to be in the present moment. Meditation is a great way to be in the present moment. I like to meditate before bed, as it helps relax and clear the mind. Here is a quick meditation to get you started!
Sleep I am somebody who doesn’t function properly unless I have at least 8 hours of sleep at night. Sometimes that is hard to meet when you have a very busy college schedule. This semester my goal is to aim for at least 7-9 hours a night. Having a sleep schedule has always been difficult for me, I’ll take any chance to sleep in that I can get. This semester my classes all start at 9:30 am so I can try and enforce a sleep schedule more. Here are some tips I found that help to get better sleep!
Cheers to year full of health and wellness! Let me know your favourite ways to maintain your health!
I recently got accepted for my Masters in Occupational Therapy and I am super excited about it! I wanted to share some tips on how to make the process a little bit easier! Schools will either offer a Masters or Doctorate, as many programs are moving to Doctorates, I will be sharing my Masters applying experience.
Get a Bachelors Degree
Most schools do not care what you have your bachelors in, as long as you have taken the proper prerequisites courses. Some of the most common majors for OT’s are listed here! I majored in Health Science, which was perfect way to set me up for a career in OT. The program is designed with courses to help prepare students who want to go into a career in Clinical Medicine. Here are some of the courses I took that I felt prepared me well:
Health Care Ethics
Evidence Based Healthcare
Needs of the Aging
American Sign Language
Complete the Prerequisites
OT school’s each require their own individualised list of courses that are required for their program. Here is a list of some of the most common:
Anatomy and Physiology I and II
It is best to aim for at least a B or a 3.0 in each of these courses to improve your chances of being accepted. Some schools won’t even look at your application if you do not need their minimum grade, so be sure to check that out!
Start early with these! The more you have the better! Most schools will give you a minimum requirement of hours they would like you to have. My suggestion is to do at least 100 hours, as that is what the average number applicants do. Starting early can be an easy way to accumulate these hours over time. It is also good to do your observation hours in multiple settings. Occupational Therapy is very different depending on the setting you are in. It will also show that you have been exposed to a variety of settings and know more about the different core practice areas of the profession. I ended up doing over 100 hours for my application. I did inpatient rehabilitation and productive aging, outpatient children and youth, health and wellness, mental health and rehabilitation.
Most of OT graduate schools are on a centralised system knowns as the Occupational Therapy Centralised Application Service (OTCAS). This makes it super easy when applying, you only have to submit everything once. The OTCAS has a generalised personal statement that each school requires as well as some schools have additional supplements. The personal statement entails”Your personal essay should address why you selected OT as a career and how an Occupational Therapy degree relates to your immediate and long term professional goals. Describe how your personal, educational, and professional background will help you to achieve your goals.” While the additional supplements, focus on why you want to go to that specific school and how that would help you achieve your long term goals.
Ask early! Don’t wait till the last minute to ask for recommendations. It is best to give your recommender at least a month to write the recommendation. These can be from a professor. advisor, boss, or anyone who can speak of your professional experience. Some schools also require a letter from an Occupational Therapist. My suggestion would be to arrange a OT observation over the course of a few weeks to help form a relationship with one. I asked my old boss from work, one of my public health professors and an OT I shadowed for a few weeks.
I hope this was helpful for anyone who is interested in applying! Feel free to comment any tips, tricks, or questions! Good luck!
With back school right around the corner, I took a trip to my local Trader Joe’s to stock up on some healthy snacks and foods for school!
I couldn’t resist all the beautiful flowers they have!
So here is what I got! All under $30! Which is pretty good if you ask me! Trader Joe’s provides great food for low prices. Products include gourmet foods, organic foods, vegetarian foods, imported foods, and the staples. They love to hear from customers and won’t bring products back if they get a bad review. They always have some great healthy foods I like to stock up on!
Here are some of my favorites!
I’m a HUGE fan of any kind of almond and peanut butter! Really any type of nut butter lol. I normally just stick with peanut butter because of the low cost and convenience of it. But, Trader Joe’s has great almond butter that is under $5! That’s pretty good for almond butter! They have salt and no salt versions!
I love pasta! Who doesn’t? I have it almost every night! Vodka sauce is probably one of my favorite kinds but I’m very picky when it comes to it. Trader Joe’s makes a great one that is organic too!
Raw Shelled Hemp Seeds and Dark Chocolate Cacao Nibs
These are both great for smoothie bowls! I have one almost every morning so these are a must for me! You can either blend in the hemp seeds or put them on top! You can also put them in salads, on top of yogurt or even make hemp milk! I like to blend them and put the cacao nibs on top!
I love mangos! These dried mango slices taste just like gummy candy! They are perfect for when you are craving something sweet and want to make a healthier choice! Be sure to get the “Unsulfured & Unsweetened” ones, trust me you don’t need to extra sugar!
One of my new favorite drinks, Kombucha! A fermented black tea beverage, filled with tons of probiotics! They come in so many great flavors! My favorite are mango and pomegranate!