Category Archives: Holistic Health

A holistic approach to exercise, the household, relationships, the body and the mind

Real Food in NYC

Eating gluten-free, dairy-free and mostly paleo (always real food) in New York City is easy! Check out our favourite spots from our birthday trip/babymoon.Last June, the hubby and I spent an extra long weekend in New York City! It was my 30th Birthday (and his 36th) and I was 6 months pregnant, so not exactly up for a raging party – haha!

So as a combo birthday trip and baby-moon, we hopped on down to New York City for what was to be a wonderful vacation!

Some people are able to make modifications to their way of eating while on vacation, and while we can do that slightly, we more or less stick to what we know works best for us. That way we can feel our best and enjoy our trip to the fullest!

Usually we rent an AirBnB, VRBO or make sure to get a hotel with a kitchenette, and find a grocery store (ideally a Whole Foods) as soon as we get to town. And while we still did this, we modified it slightly because it’s NYC! A HUGE city with enough people to have restaurants to cater to every diet! So I did some research on restaurants that we could enjoy and picked an apartment located smack in the middle of all my amazing finds. 

I’ve had many questions about where to eat in NYC so I thought I would (finally) make an actual blog post out of it! Here are all of the places where we enjoyed delicious food:


Hu Kitchen

Real food in New York City! Gluten-free, paleo, sustainable, vegan deliciousness!

Gluten-free, Dairy-free Options, Quality Meat, No Vegetable Oils, Paleo, Vegetarian/Vegan Options

Hu Kitchen was my favourite place ever. It was pricey, but that’s what you get for high quality ingredients. As someone who is VERY sensitive to vegetable oils, being able to go out for a few different meals, and not worry about the subsequent inflammation (joint pain, ugh) was amazing. 


Real food in New York City! Gluten-free, paleo, sustainable, vegan deliciousness!



We enjoyed roast chicken, paleo meatloaf, lots of veggie sides (with cashew cheese!), Jackson’s Honest Potato Chips (purple heirloom potatoes cooked in coconut oil), fair-trade organic coffee with coconut milk and maple syrup (there were so many milk/sweetener options) and some yummy paleo desserts. The hubs had a carrot cake whoopee pie for breakfast on his birthday, and I enjoyed a paleo blueberry muffin!



Real food in New York City! Gluten-free, paleo, sustainable, vegan deliciousness!Springbone

Paleo/Vegan Soft Serve Ice Cream

Another real-food restaurant that serves Bone Broth and lots of gluten-free options. But we went for the 3-ingredient ice-cream.

Chocolate Avocado & Raspberry Banana.

All dairy free and no junk.

Enough said.



Real food in New York City! Gluten-free, paleo, sustainable, vegan deliciousness!Pokeworks

Wild, sustainable fish burritos

Poke works was a little takeout burrito joint, that basically resulted in giant, customizable hand rolls. Wild sustainable sushi-grade salmon, avocado, veggies, sea greens and rice wrapped in a large sheet of nori. We each grabbed a burrito and enjoyed them in Bryant Park before walking over to Times Square to see The Book of Mormon, which was hilarious (and incredibly offside). 


Keste Pizza

Real food in New York City! Gluten-free, paleo, sustainable, vegan deliciousness!

The best pizza I have had in my life.

Over 50 pizza options on the menu, 10 of which were gluten-free! Although a very strict no changes/substitutions rule, you are able to omit an ingredient. We had gluten-free pizzas that had mozzarella and sheep cheese, and omitted the mozzarella, because we don’t tolerate cow-dairy. They also had several gluten-free beer options! 

This tiny, authentically Italian (direct from Napoli!) pizzeria in Greenwich Village is one of the top 5 restaurants I’ve ever been to in my life. And I’m lucky enough to have been to some really nice ones, because my parents, specifically my Dad, plan all their trips around the top restaurants in that city. Guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree eh?

We went here for my birthday dinner and we literally didn’t speak the entire time except to say “oh my goodness” and “holy $h!t” over and over. We’ve since sent many people there, both gluten-free foodies like us, and eat-everything-foodies, and everyone has had an amazing experience. 


Whole Foods/Trader Joes

Real food in New York City! Gluten-free, paleo, sustainable, vegan deliciousness!
Whole Foods Haul: bacon, eggs, greens, coffee, coconut milk, goat yogurt, clean snacks (potato chips, fruit, applegate meat), cider and kombucha.


We rented an apartment right by NYU/Union Square, so we were a 10-15 minute walk from Hu Kitchen, Whole Foods, Springbone and Keste (priorities, amiright??). The first thing we did was stock up on groceries from Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s on 14th. Making breakfast is always how we do things, because it’s hard to find quality breakfast restaurants. Not to mention, when you just get bacon & eggs, it seems expensive for something you cane easily make at home! And to be honest, I love waking up and having coffee and breakfast in my pjs! Especially at 6 months pregnant when I was moving a little slower in the mornings.

We stocked up on bacon, eggs, mango kombucha (a major pregnancy craving, one of my only ones), mixed greens, bananas, sheep-milk yogurt, cold brew coffee which we warmed up in a small pot (so we didn’t have to fuss with grinding coffee, or not having a coffee maker), coconut milk, maple syrup, Jackson’s Honest chips and some clean cold cuts for snacks. 

Real food in New York City! Gluten-free, paleo, sustainable, vegan deliciousness!
Breakfast at “Home”: bacon, fried eggs cooked in the same pan, on greens, fruit and mango kombucha. Side of prenatal vitamins!

Needless to say, we ate well. Very well. It cost us a pretty penny, but not any more than eating out at every meal. In fact, it was probably less than most people spend on food in NYC! Regardless, quality food is always a priority for us. In lieu of buying me a fancy 30th birthday gift like shoes, jewellery or a purse, we enjoyed every bite of every piece of food, without thinking twice about the cost! 

Now, NYC is a unique place, because it is so big, with so many different types of people. So you can find restaurants to fit all diets from vegan to paleo, and all budgets from $2 street vendor meals to swanky high end joints. 

Real food in New York City! Gluten-free, paleo, sustainable, vegan deliciousness!
Dinner at “Home”: paleo/vegan caesar salad from Hu Kitchen, Jackson’s Honest Potato chips in Coconut Oil, Applegate Ham




But the approach we have travelled to places quite the opposite, and always find success. For example, we spent a week in Rocky Harbour Newfoundland for our honeymoon. Other than seafood, Rocky Harbour was practically a food desert, but we figured it out! Root veggies and broccoli rounded out our fresh seafood dinners every night, which we cooked on our BBQ at the little cottage we rented. It’s definitely possible to eat well, or eat in a way that will nourish your body within your limits, where ever you travel. It just takes a bit of planning. The longer you live this way, the easier it gets!


What tricks do you use for eating well on vacation? 


Fever: The Role in Immune Function, Benefits & Risks of Treatment, Natural Remedies

FeverSo I’ve been sick. Really sick. It came on as a slight cough last Tuesday – I thought it was residual from a cardio-intensive workout that morning. But by the evening it was still there. I immediately started hitting it with everything I had. Now normally my arsenal is pretty large, considering my hubby is a naturopath and we have a dispensary in our basement, lol. But considering the fact that I’m pregnant, most of the herbs we have on site are off-limits. So I stuck with a large dose of Vitamin C, some essential oils, and a plan to sleep in as late as possible the next morning.

And then the morning arrived. I felt ok. The cough had settled in for sure, but not too bad. By mid-morning my whole body hurt. Again I chocked it up to yesterdays workout, but the level of discomfort was not appropriate for that workout. That’s when I started realizing I was seriously sick. This wasn’t just a little cough. When I started feeling listless and realized I had laid in bed for an hour doing nothing (no TV, reading, podcasts – nada), I took my temperature: 


Yowza that’s high (ish). And I’m pregnant. And the risk of injury to the baby with a chronically elevated temperature is real. I was able to bring it down a full degree within an hour, by implementing some classic natural anti-febrile techniques, which I’ll share with you below! But first, a bit on fevers…


NOTE: I am not a medical doctor. I am not making any medical recommendations and this is not medical advice. I am simply trying to provide some clear information on a common health occurrence. Please speak with your health care practitioner before making any changes to your health care routine.


What is a fever?

A fever is a natural rise in your body temperature, in response to an infection – either bacterial or viral. It is not a disease in itself, but a symptom of an underlying issue. So like all health issues, it’s important to address the underlying cause, instead of just suppressing the symptoms.

Why do we develop a fever?

It is believed that the elevation in temperature is actually a critical step in helping our bodies fight off infection. It seems to (a) activate our immune system by sending white blood cells and macrophages to the infection site, and (b) inhibit enzymes and other functions required for viral and bacterial replication. For example, it has been hypothesized that most bacteria can’t survive in temperatures above 101F and viruses, above 102F. 

In fact many cold-blooded animals, when inoculated with pathogens, will instinctively find ways to increase their body temperatures to feverish levels, by seeking out warmer environments. Fascinating eh?  (<– btw, clearly I’m Canadian, if you didn’t already know…)

Isn’t a fever dangerous?

Well yes, it can be. Uncontrolled, very high body temperatures can result in severe dehydration and possibly induce febrile seizure. Which is why you want to monitor it. But mostly, they’re just damn uncomfortable.

Now, when it comes to fever during pregnancy, there’s a little more to consider. Your baby is developing and that requires a specific temperature for everything to work properly. This is why your doctor told you not to use a hot tub or take hot baths. Prolonged, elevated body temperatures may impair important developmental processes, specifically in the brain.

Anti-Febrile Meds?

The conventional approach is to take an anti-febrile medication as soon as your temperature gets a little above normal. Ibuprofen (Advil), acetaminophen (Tylenol) and naproxen (Aleve) are the 3 recommended meds. Do they work? Oh hell yeah. Are there side effects? Definitely. So it becomes a relative risk-reward assessment situation.

NSAIDS (like Advil and Aleve) cause leaky gut. Period, end of story. If you have a history of health issues or an autoimmune condition, this is something to consider. Importantly during pregnancy, Ibuprofen is considered  level 4 risk, during the 3rd trimester. As in, there is significant evidence of it causing harm to the baby, specifically their heart.

Acetaminophen is the leading cause of acute liver failure in the USA. The metabolic byproduct of detoxifying acetaminophen is NAPQI, which is responsible for necrosis of the liver. While NAPQI does not cross the placental barrier, acetaminophen readily does. Which needs to be considered since a developing baby’s liver starts being responsible for its own detoxification at around 18 weeks.

Additionally, suppressing a fever has been shown to prolong the duration of the illness, which makes sense since you’re also suppressing your immune system from doing its job!

Natural Approaches to Reducing a Fever

So what did I do?

MONITOR: Most importantly I was monitoring my temperature every hour, making sure it didn’t get to a temperature that we (my husband, my health care provider and I) had decided would be our “time for serious action” temp. I also monitored every few hours at night.

WARMING SOCKS: This age-old home remedy is a favourite amongst crunchy mamas. You take a pair of thin cotton socks and soak them in cold tap water. Put them on your feet, and add a second pair of socks, preferably wool to keep the water in. When the socks warm up, rinse them in cold water again and repeat. The idea behind this hydrotherapy technique is by keeping the feet cold and wet, you create a sort of “heat exchange”. Your body increases circulation to your feet, dissipating heat in order to warm up the feet/socks.

ICE PACK: Place a cool ice pack at the base of the neck, where there is a high concentration of temperature receptors. This can help dictate the internal temperature of the body.

ESSENTIAL OILS: I’m new to the field of essential oils, but I’m quite enjoying learning how to use these additional tools. I hit up the Wellness Mama (she’s my go-to for natural remedies) and she recommended pure peppermint essential oil (I use Young Living brand) on the back of the neck and on the bottom of the feet (see above for why those locations). 

I did all 3 things and brought my temperature to 100.1 within an hour. 

BACK UP…MEDS: Considering the risk of a high fever and developmental issues regarding the baby, I had an Ibuprofen on stand by, just in case my temp got above the predetermined comfortable zone for us (I’m purposely not sharing, because that’s something for you to determine with your health care provider). I chose Ibuprofen because although I have a history of major gut issues and serious autoimmune risk, I am 18 weeks pregnant. Which is far enough out from my third trimester to decrease the risk of ibuprofen and heart defects, but definitely far enough in that I didn’t want my baby’s liver to take the hit of the acetaminophen. Luckily I didn’t have to use either, because the above tricks worked tremendously. 

Additional Support

There were a few other things I did to help my body recover from this (likely) flu as fast as possible. 

  1. Convalesce. I did nothing. Nada. Even though by day 3 I was so bored of TV, I rested, napped, and generally took it easy. Pushing through is a sure way to stay sick and get sicker. I’d rather take a few days off and get better, then push through and 2 weeks from now find out I have pneumonia and have to go on antibiotics.
  2. Bone broth. Like crazy. It helps keep the gut strong and regulates your immune system. I had soup multiple times a day. I also cooked white rice in broth, to get some calories in me. Find out how I store my bone broth to make it easy to use, even when you’re sick and have no energy for food prep! I added onions and garlic to my broth for an additional immune boost. I also added some gentle veggies like spinach.
  3. Vitamin C. There aren’t very many supplements that are considered safe during pregnancy. Again, I worked with my team and determined a few herbs that are generally recognized as safe during pregnancy, but mostly focused on the simple stuff. High doses of vitamin C at regular intervals can shorten the duration of an illness. Good rule of thumb with vitamin C – take to bowel tolerance. As in, when you start noticing loose stool, pull back on your dose!
  4. Ginger, lemon and raw honey tea. I took a few slices of ginger root, a ¼ lemon and about 2 cups of hot water. I let simmer for about 20 minutes on the stove top. Strain and add a spoonful of raw honey. Alternately, you can juice a whole whack of ginger and lemons, and store the potent elixir in the fridge, adding a few tbsp to a mug of hot water and a spoonful of raw honey. This is what we normally do, but I was by myself during this illness and didn’t want to deal with the mess of the juicer (normally my hubby would take care of that), and by the time he returned home, he was sick too. 
  5. Fluids. Water, tea (see above), bone broth, mineral water and kombucha (specifically homemade lemon/ginger booch) were on constant rotation. Fever causes dehydration so keep your fluid intake high! 



Fevers can be a scary situation, especially in young kids or during pregnancy. But understanding their benefit can help decrease the stress around them. Monitoring and implementing some solid, natural remedies – combined with immune support to help your body fight the cause of the infection – can help you recover quickly and decrease the potential need for risky pharmaceutical intervention. Keeping in mind, that drugs save lives so there is definitely a time and a place for their use!


Birth Control

Two years before even starting to try to conceive, I went off the birth control. I went off it for other reasons as well, and while this post isn’t about birth control and health, it is important to recognize that birth control is not a 100% safe and harmless pharmaceutical. This is not the time or place to discuss whether or not oral contraception is right for you, I just want to bring to light 2 major reasons why it is important to come off the birth control pill more than a month before trying to conceive. 

  1. The birth control pill depletes nutrients. Building a baby requires nutrients. Lots of them. Like a seriously crazy amount. And if you’re just barely sufficient (or more likely depleted), do you think baby is going to take the hit? No way. Mom does. Baby will suck everything it needs from you and mom will be left with major nutrient deficiencies. In fact, many of the symptoms attributed to “pregnancy” may actually be pre-existing nutrient deficiencies rearing their ugly heads when your needs further increase. This may also play a role in why so many women experience the onset of health conditions (often autoimmune) after pregnancy, and why the 2nd pregnancy is often harder than the first since you go in further depleted than the first.
  2. The birth control pill artificially controls your hormones and floods your body with excess estrogen. While this is very effective for contraception, it can seriously mess with our natural hormonal processes. The body is very good at not wasting energy or resources when it doesn’t have to. So if it’s not required to manage your hormonal cycle, it’s not going to. That’s why it can take months to normalize after coming off. Which was exactly my experience – it was 3 months before I got my period, and 8 months before I ovulated, and a full year before things were working like clockwork. Imagine if I had gone off the pill and hoped to get pregnant the next month? That would have been devastating. And I would probably have ended up down the road of fertility treatments, simply because my body hadn’t normalized yet.

My recommendation is always to give yourself as much time between coming off the pill and trying to conceive as possible. Ideally 1 full year, and if you don’t have that time, aim for 6 months. But during those 6 months it is recommended that you work with someone to rebalance your hormones and flood the body with the nutrients that were depleted from continuous use of oral contraceptives.

Here are some great resources about oral contraception and for helping coming off the pill:

The Pill, Sex Drugs and Mood Swings Part 1 (Part 2 and Part 3)

5 Reasons to Come Off The Birth Control Pill 2+ Years Before You Plan To Start a Family

Birth Control Pills: How They Work, Benefits, And Risks

Birth Control Unlocked: Your Body, Your Options, Your Guide

How to Recover from Long Term Use of Birth Control Pills


Alternative Contraception Methods:

1. Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler – hands down the most informative book on learning how your body works and the Fertility Awareness Method. The subtitle is “The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health” which couldn’t be more accurate. I know a lot about the body, and my husband (a naturopath) knows even more and we learned SO much from this book. I couldn’t stop reading it! I used it to effectively prevent conception prior to when desired (in combination with the barrier method, see below) and it was very helpful once we did want to conceive! 

2. Barrier Method – the old fashioned barrier method (a.k.a. condoms) are still one of the most effective methods of contraception, if used correctly. However, one of my biggest issues with condoms is the materials they are made of and the sketchy ingredients in the lubricant and/or spermicide. The brands I recommend are Glyde and Sir Richard’s (bonus with this brand is they donate a box of condoms for every box you buy!).

3. Withdrawal Method (A Sex-Educator’s Take) – if it would absolutely be the worst to get pregnant, or you’re particularly anxious about it, combining the Fertility Awareness Method with a barrier AND withdrawal on your highly fertile days can be helpful in reducing stress and actually enjoying yourself! 

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