THE HEALTHY COTTAGE LIFE: A NUTRITIONISTS COLLECTION OF TIPS & STRATEGIES


With the long hot days of summer here there will be many of us heading up to the cottage to enjoy some relaxing and fun family time together. Cottage life usually means a lot of sun, snacking, barbecues, more snacking, late nights, the occasional “cold one” around the campfire and bugs… lots and lots of bugs!

We often spend a great deal of time getting ready for the trek up the highway to our home away from home; there’s a ton of clothing to pack, outdoor entertainment items, indoor entertainment items, grocery supplies, sun protection, bug repellent… and the list goes on. It’s important to do some important planning as we’re getting ready to pack up for our summer cottage “life”… planning that will help ensure that our cottage days are fun-filled, relaxing and HEALTHY!

Healthy Meal and Snack Planning:

Take full advantage of the local produce markets that are abundant in “cottage country” during the summer months! Our main meals don’t have to be elaborate and they don’t always need to be a hot cooked meal, they just need to be nourishing!

Incorporating healthier snack options is important; purchase local products that are natural, whole, fresh and delicious!

  • Veggie Up! Choose local, fresh and delicious fruits and vegetables from an array of colours. Enjoy them raw on there own, in a great salad, steamed or roasted on the barbecue… enjoy them however you choose to prepare them but just enjoy more of them! We should all be aiming for 5-10 servings per day

  • Scour the local area for healthier snack options; fruits and vegetables make great snacks, local honey, local homemade ice creams, homemade crackers and breads (whole wheat, rye, zucchini, banana, sesame seed etc.), homemade popsicles made with real fruit juices

  • Scour the local area for fantastic eggs, milk, cheese and meats; purchase locally from a small farm that believes in the importance of whole, natural food items from animals raised freely without the use of antibiotics and hormones.

  • When barbecuing avoid the use of aluminum foil, hydrogenated items such as margarine and overcooking your food items.

Staying Hydrated

Supplying our bodies with adequate amounts of fluid is important and although It's true that alot of beverages (coffee, tea, soda, alcohol) contain significant amounts of water, they also contain other ingredients that have a duretic effect and can contribute to dehydration. Coffee, for example, can cause us to excreet more water then it is actually giving us ; so although you may be taking in fluids, you may not be properly hydrating yourself.

So to ward off dehydration and its side effects, it is best to provide our body with an adequate amount of good quality drinking water. Good quality drinking water should be free of germs, chlorine, flouride and undesireable chemicals. A general guideline to ensure that we are properly hydrated is to consume eight eight ounce glasses of good quality drinking water per day.

Watermelon is a great hydrating choice on these hot and humid days! Try out some of these great tasting watermelon smoothies and ENJOY YOUR LONG WEEKEND!

WATERMELON-COCONUT SMOOTHIE

This one is so easy to prepare yet DELICIOUS!

-cut about 1/4 of a whole watermelon into small cubes and freeze overnight (covered with saran wrap)

-chill your favourite brand of coconut water overnight in the refrigerator

- when ready to prepare just place in the blender on low speed until it is starting to mix together nicely and then crank on high speed until well mixed

-and VOILA thats's it .... will make about 2 6 oz servings

WATERMELON-CUCUMBER SMOOTHIE

Combine all of the following in the blender

1 cucumber peeled and cut into small pieces

4 cups of watermelon (that has been cut into cubes and froze overnight in the freezer)

1/4 of a fresh mint leaf

1 tablespoon of lemon or lime juice

Blend together starting on low speed until starting to mix together nicely and then finish on high speed until well blended

WATERMELON-STRAWBERRY SMOOTHIE

Follow the exact recipe above but instead of cucumber add 1 cup of fresh strawberries that have thoroughly washed and froze overnight

WATERMELON-PINEAPPLE SMOOTHIE

Follow the exact same WATERMELON-CUCUMBER SMOOTHIE instructions but instead of adding cucumber add 1 cup of fresh pineapple that has been cut into small cubes

WATERMELON-STRAWBERRY-RHUBARB SMOOTHIE

Combine all of the following in the blender

1/4 of a fresh watermelon (that has been cut into cubes and froze overnight)

1/2 cup of fresh strawberries (that have been washed and froze overnight)

1/2 cup of fresh rhubarb (that has been cut into small pieces and froze overnight)

* add a little bit of freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice

Blend together starting on low speed until starting to mix together nicely and then finish on high speed until well blended

Relaxation To The Max

Who doesn’t have stress? We all have it, right? Yes! Stress is necessary for our survival. It’s perfectly natural, and is part of being human. Stress becomes a problem when it is ongoing. Chronic stimulation of the stress reaction leads to hormonal and metabolic imbalances that adversely affect all systems in the body.

Stress comes in many forms. It can be caused from poor eating habits, exposure to toxins and harmful chemicals, physical stress (too much exercise or physical labour to the point of exhaustion), emotional stress caused from financial difficulties, family problems, and work related difficulties, and stress can also be caused from poor health, and inadequate sleep.

The following are a few suggestions to help reduce stress in your life:

  • Eat natural, unprocessed, chemical-free foods that are locally grown, fresh and nutrient dense (organically grown whenever possible)

  • Avoid chlorinated water for drinking, and showering if possible.

  • Avoid chemical stressors: junk food, caffeine, drugs, hair dyes, toxic household cleaners, dry-cleaning, microwaving food in plastic containers, etc.

  • Exercise (but not excessively) and stretch regularly. Yoga and meditation practice is excellent.

  • Replace disruptive, unpleasant, worrying and limiting thoughts with loving and liberating thoughts.

  • Get adequate rest. Sleep in a room that is as dark and quiet as possible.

  • Go to the table with a relaxed mind. Eating too fast or while stressed, causes digestive disturbances and will create yet more stress for your body.

  • Take time for you. You deserve it. Whether it’s a nice leisure bath, a walk, time to read a book, or a cup of tea with a friend. Utilize your resources, find a sitter, and take some time for yourself to do whatever is special for you.

Healthier Sun Exposure and Sunscreen Products

Safe sun exposure for brief periods of time is important for our Vitamin D requirements; to get enough Vitamin D from the suns rays, you should expose your face and arms for 10-15 minutes at least 3x/week without sunscreen. However ensuring that we are properly protecting ourselves from the potentially harmful effects of sun exposure is important for our health and wellness.

Incorporate the following strategies to reduce your exposure:

  • Choose when to do your outdoor activities; generally early morning (before 11:00 am) and late afternoon (after 3:00pm) will be cooler with less direct sunshine

  • If you do find the need to be outside during peek sunshine times wear a hat or utilize an umbrella to limit your exposure

  • Use a good quality all natural sunscreen and be sure to reapply after swimming and excessive sweating. Look for some of my favourite sunscreen products at your local pharmacy/health foods store:

  • Badger: Unscented Sunscreen Cream

  • Green Beaver: Natural Mineral Sunscreen Lotion

  • Goddess Garden: Organics Facial Natural Sunscreen

  • Boo Bamboo: Baby & Kids Natural Sunscreen

Healthier Bug Repellent Products

With cottage life comes bugs…. Lots and lots of bugs! Mosquitos are probably the most bothersome but many of the products available to ward them off are filled with chemicals and additives (particularly DEET) that we don’t want to be putting on our skin or inhaling if we are using an aerosol spray. Try some of my favourite healthier alternatives:

  • Citrobug Insect Repellent: DEET-FREE natural mosquito repellent made with essential oils

  • Honest Bug Spray: made with organic essential oils

  • Badger Anti-Bug Shake & Spray: No synthetic chemicals, DEET or petroleum products

  • Homemade Bug Repellant: check one out here

Healthy Sleep Hygiene

If you’re having trouble sleeping, you’re certainly not alone. Sleep deprivation is a common problem suffered by many, it is estimated that 30% of Canadian adults are getting fewer than 6 hours of sleep per night.

If you make ‘getting more sleep’ a priority, you may see some changes in the way you feel, your mood and your overall general health and wellness

Here is a list of strategies you can try to help improve your sleep:

  • Eliminate/reduce caffeine and alcohol (these increase urination and can cause restless sleep)

  • Don’t have chocolate (or caffeine) within 7-8 hours of bedtime

  • Turn off electronic devices 1-2 hours before bed and avoid having a TV in your bedroom

  • Finish dinner 3-4 hours before bedtime

  • Drink a calming tea like Chamomile in the evening

  • Sleep in a totally dark room (all sources of light off) or wear eye covers

  • Set your bedroom at a comfortable temperature

  • Exercise in the morning, afternoon or early evening (not late at night)

  • Take a soothing hot bath at night

  • Listen to soft music before bed to help wind down

  • Use relaxing breathing techniques or meditation

  • White noise at bedtime – a fountain or fan can help you fall asleep

  • Relax and read before bed

  • Yoga or Tai Chi or stretching at night to de-stress

  • Write down your worries and your "to do" list on a piece of paper before going to bed. (dump your brain of details, so you can relax).

Enjoy your Healthy Cottage Life this summer!

If you would like other great articles, tips and strategies take a moment to scroll through the BLOG… also check out the SERVICE OVERVIEW page to see how else I may be able to help you with your healthy food choices, menu planning, food prep and your current symptom/complaints that are taking away from your full enjoyment of life!

Sending A Wish Your Way For A Well BALANCED Day!

Jenny

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