Wellness Wednesday : The Great Outdoors

At every opportunity go outside!


The more time you spend outside the happier you’ll be, we’ve listed some reasons why they call it The GREAT outdoors!

Get Outside Infographic
Research shows that children are spending half as much time outside as they did 20 years ago – and much more time doing "inside" activities.

Study: Juster, F. Thomas et al. (2004). "Changing Times of American Youth: 1981-2003", Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan. Child Development Supplement
The average American child spends 44 hours per week (more than 6 hours a day!) staring at some kind of electronic screen.

Study: Rideout, Victoria et al. (2005). Generation M: Media in the Lives of 8-18 Year-Olds. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

Wellness Wednesday Vegan Coconut Blueberry Pancakes

It’s been quite some time since we enjoyed a good stack of pancakes, they aren’t usually a breakfast department go-to in our household but with some vegan visitors over for brunch this week we decided to try something different.

Vegan Coconut Blueberry Pancakes

Why Coconuts?

coconut with green leaves

Coconuts are highly nutritious and rich in fibre, vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5 and B6 and minerals including iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous.

A 100ml serving of canned coconut milk has:
154 calories   1.4g protein  15g fat
(13.2g saturates)        3.4g carbohydrate

Coconut milk is derived from the flesh of the coconut. The thick, creamy white flesh is what is made into the milk and while coconut milk is high in saturated fat, it is much healthier than other saturated fat products. The fat in coconut milk is easily metabolized by the body and also offers some health benefits as it is anti-carcinogenic, anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral.

Vegan Coconut Blueberry Pancakes

I hope you enjoy this pancake recipe, if you don’t tell your diner I bet they won’t even guess they are vegan!. These delicious treats explode with blueberry flavor in every bite and are perfect for boosting your energy naturally! I enjoyed my pancakes with a smoothie but they would go great with a cup of coffee or a glass of almond milk.

** These pancakes taste great cold or reheated and you can even freeze them and pop them in the toaster for a quick treat! Here’s Henry enjoying a toaster pancake the next day!

Henry and a Vegan Coconut Blueberry Pancake

Wellness Wednesday: Garden Carrot Rhubarb Soup

It’s that time of the year, rhubarb is ready to be enjoyed and whether its from your own garden or the grocery store, now is the time to try this healthy and nutritious soup.

Carrot Rhubarb Soup - turmeric and carrot

Garden Carrot and Rhubarb Soup

4 – 6 bowls


2 1/2 lbs carrots – peeled and chopped – Roughly 7 cups or 10-14 carrots

1 cup rhubarb stalk – diced

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 L low sodium vegetable or chicken stock

a few fresh cilantro sprigs, to garnish

Chili hot sauce of choice

1. Preheat your oven to 350 F.

2. In a large mixing bowl stir the carrots, rhubarb, olive oil, black pepper, and cloves together and then spread them out in a baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from oven and transfer its contents into a large pot.

2. Add the ground turmeric and stock of choice to the carrot – rhubarb blend and bring it all to a boil. Remove the pot off the stove and blend all the ingredients together until completely smooth by either using an immersion blender or in a blender in batches. Return the pot to the stove and cook for another 15 minutes on a medium-low heat. Adjust salt to taste.

3. Serve your soup with a sprig of cilantro on top and a serving of hot sauce on the side. (Also tastes great with basil lime leaves.)

Carrot and Rhubarb Soup

One Glass in the Morning for Endless Benefits

Drink Lemon Water in the Morning for The Best Start

hot lemon water

Make a habit of drinking a glass of warm lemon water first thing in the morning and boost your bodies potential.

That short drink will aid in increasing both your metabolism and energy, it also improving your digestion, skin and oral health and cleanse your entire body, from your lymphatic system to your stomach and urinary tract.


Keep bags of organic lemons on your counter at all times, this will make it easy for you to form a habit of drinking it first thing in the morning.

If you want to buy lemons by the bag you can store them in your fridge, they keep very well in the cold.

Add On:


Honey Dripping

You can add RAW (unprocessed) honey for sweetness, the different
enzymes and antioxidants in honey do wonders on your digestive system.

Add to taste and sweetness preference, anywhere from 1 Tbsp. to 1/2 cup!

Cayenne : Cayenne pepper will boost your metabolism, circulate the blood, cleanse the body, clear stress, accelerate weight loss and fight colds and flus. It’s a great relief to headaches and it contains magnesium, phytochemicals and vitamins C and E.

Stick to one to dashes of cayenne.

Cayenne Pepper Ground

Ginger**: Ginger, available virtually any grocery store or market aids in digestion, detoxification, inflammation and joint pain, circulation, nausea and motion sickness.

Add ginger to how strong you prefer it in your drink, we like 2 Tbsp.


Turmeric**: Turmeric has many antiviral and antibacterial properties; it has a very long history of use in traditional Ayervedic medicine. It is technically an herb and is used to treat infections, support digestion and cleanse the entire body, especially your liver. Alone turmeric is slightly bitter, don’t let that turn you off because it blends well with other flavors!


We recommend 2 Tsp. of Turmeric.

Black Pepper: Taking Turmeric with black pepper increases its ability to be absorbed into your bloodstream by a thousand times.

**Fresh is always better but ground works great!

Banana Chia Chai Pudding

If you’re looking for a dessert recipe that requires little effort and no guilt, you should try making a chia pudding.

Chia Chai Pudding

Chia pudding has a base of chia seeds soaked in liquid, some healthy options include coconut milk, almond milk and yogurt. The addition of a few ingredients can create a delicious and decadent dessert .


The chia seed is an excellent source of tryptophan, an amino acid that promotes good mood, good sleep and a sense of calm.


We have created a printable recipe for Banana Chia Chai Pudding! Send us some of your ideas!

Banana Chia Chai Pudding Recipe Card

Join The 68 – Day Challenge with The Life Chest

Join the 68 day challenge with The Life Chest

The 68-Day Challenge

What can you achieve in 68 Days? Anything!

Art Van has created the 68-Day Challenge to make 2015 your best year yet.

Get ready to “INSPIRE” in 2015 with a Personal Plan of Action!

THE 68 DAY CHALLENGE is a program designed to help “jumpstart” your first 68 days so that the other 297 days of the year will fall into place. In other words, 68 days to a better you!


The Life Chest is taking on the 68-Day Challenge:

Through 6 phases from January 4 to March 11 our Life Chest Team will tackle each of our individual goals separately but have vowed to support each other along the way.

Taking control, having a plan and staying focused is key, we have made a commitment to help each other attain what we want most out of this challenge, and no one will be left behind!

Our team consists of 5 very different women, embracing our individuality we are all taking on the challenge in a very different manner; here are the challenges we are facing:



I love the fine arts. I even majored in Art History in college! Unfortunately my love of art and the time I have to spend on it has diverged since graduation, so my 68-day challenge for myself is to read at least one fine arts article a day. Whether it is on a new artist or an exciting upcoming installation, I plan on immersing myself in the fine arts world again!




My “One A Day” — WRITE

Correspond to a different friend each day. Not, an email but a beautiful handwritten note. I love to write but have gotten away from it and rely solely on technology to communicate.

My “None A Day” — WINE

Give up wine to reduce those liquid calories, excess sugar, and keep a clear mind. I love fine wines but do not want to take them for granted, instead I’ll increase my daily water intake and that will be an extra benefit.

My “One A Night” — WALK

A brisk walk after dinner to help keep in shape. I used to run but the knees don’t work any more so there is no excuse for not walking. By walking in the coldest months of the year, I can walk anywhere.



I am challenging myself to learn the world’s geography. By the end of the 68 days I will have memorized the geographical location of all 196 countries and will be able to locate each of them on a blank world map. I am motivated to do this in order to keep abreast of current events and be a better citizen of the world. Focusing on at least one continent per week I have no doubt that I will reach my goal. I am looking forward to a bigger brain in 2015!



As a new mom I am finding it difficult to spend time on myself, whether it be in my hobbies or in maintaining good health. My personal goal is to spend an hour everyday, uninterrupted, on one of my hobbies, whether it is knitting, photography or cooking. On those cooking days my family will be very pleased as completing my challenge will benefit them and their taste buds as well. I will also be keeping track of my water intake – drinking at least 8 glasses a day and will be spending 10 minutes a day on personal meditation. I believe that after the 68 days I will be able to not only achieve my goals but also will have a few incredible habits, better health and will be an all around better me.



My goal is to lose 13-15 pounds by immersing myself in fitness at the gym. I will be doing this four times a week with others and twice a week on my own. I’m doing this together with a team of 5 who are all taking part in the same challenge. I am also going to read one book a week and spend time writing in my personal journal every week as well. Woohoo!


For more information visit the 68-Day Challenge Facebook Page


Let us know how you’re doing on our Facebook page



Good Luck, And Remember to Have Fun!