Nope, I’m not actually a vegan and this is why

Since eliminating 99% of meat, egg and dairy from my diet a few months back and now striving for 100%, I’ve been throwing around the word “vegan” a lot. But I realize this is TOTALLY inaccurate and likely offensive to true vegans.

You see, veganism is way more than just what you eat and don’t eat – a huge part of it is about ethics. It’s about completely avoiding the use of animal products in any aspect of your life. And, as you can see from the photo, I still sport my original Birkenstocks (they have a vegan line) and Blundstones – not at the same time, tho!

On top of that, I do still consume bee products: specifically, pollen and honey. Bee pollen has an amazing nutritional profile and is said to have over 250 active substances (source). I’ve seen some call it a “perfect food”. Health benefits include:

  • Immune system builder
  • Brain booster
  • Concentration-helper

I love putting bee pollen in my smoothies so I’m not quite ready to give it up, yet. My clean mascara also includes beeswax.

Obvious but worth mentioning just in case: DO NOT consume or use bee products if you are allergic to bees.

So really I should be saying I am “plant-based”, although I’m not sure how widely recognized that term is. I mostly eat like a vegan but I am NOT a vegan. Until that’s sorted out, please show me the vegan menu items!

Finally, I don’t like to add any kind of overwhelm to my life so I change my daily habits gradually and over time. True veganism may be a pit stop on my continued toxin-free, plant-based journey but I just don’t see it clearly at this point. I will definitely keep you posted…

For you true vegans out there, any tips for us?

M.

Want to stay tuned on all my non-toxic adventures and how you can live a more plant-based lifestyle? Sign up for my newsletter below.

Processingā€¦
Success! You're on the list.

Cinnamon buns (dairy and egg free)

There are a lot of cinnamon bun fans in this house. It’s usually a top choice whenever we visit a bakery.

I’ve tried making some in the past but the recipe included dairy and eggs. I was determined to come up with a recipe with no animal products – except for honey – and here is the result. If you’re a true vegan, you can always sub the TBSP of honey with 2 TBSPs of sugar.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 TBSP instant dry yeast
  • 1 TBSP honey
  • 3 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 TBSP chia seeds
  • 3 TBSP water
  • 1 TSP salt
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 TBSP sourdough starter
  • 1 cup sucanat
  • 2 TBSP cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Instructions

Mix sucanat, cinnamon and 1/4 olive oil in a bowl and set aside. This will be the filling.

In a separate small bowl, mix the chia seeds and 3 TBSP of water and let thicken (about 20 minutes). This will be the egg replacement.

In a separate glass bowl, mix the first three ingredients listed (water, instant dry yeast and honey) and allow yeast to activate for about 5-10 minutes. Add 3 TBSP of olive oil, salt, flour and sourdough starter. Once the egg replacement has thickened, also add it in.

Knead the dough, cover with a warm damp cloth and allow to double in size. This will take a few hours but keep an eye on it. Then, refrigerate for 30 minutes so it’s easier to work with.

Preheat oven to 400F. Take the refrigerated dough and roll it out in a rectangular shape on a lightly floured surface. Add the filling, and roll tightly from the wide side. Cut into rolls.

Bake for 30 minutes on a ceramic pan (might need to bake less if using any other kind of pan). Again, keep an eye on it!

Next time, I plan on cutting them thicker as they were thick with a harder crust than I would like.

Enjoy!

M.

Processingā€¦
Success! You're on the list.

Top 10 back-to-school essential oils

Back-to-school time can be exciting, stressful and more challenging on your family’s health.

I remember as a kid being excited to see my friends after summer break but also being super scared I would fail this new grade. And now I get to relive ALL of these anxieties through my own children.

Luckily, I feel super well-equipped to deal with this time of year thanks to the plant-based tools we always have on hand in our household – and you can too!

There are definitely lots more essential oil options… but here are my top 10 faves for back-to-school:

Cheer

I hate to admit this but we are MUCH more lenient with bed time during the summer months. That means, when September rolls around and the alarm clocks are set, the morning grumpiness meter tends to skyrocket.

Cheer, a pre-mixed essential oil blend, is one of my favourite oils to diffuse in the morning to enhance our moods (2-3 drops). You will want to ideally get this running 30 minutes before everyone wakes up.

Add a couple of drops of peppermint essential oil with your Cheer blend to also boost energy and wakefulness.

On Guard

Do your kids, like ours, also come home with all of the germs and sniffles at the beginning of the school year?

We fight that by diffusing 5-6 drops of On Guard, a pre-mixed essential oil blend, in the evenings. The chemical make-up of this blend provides powerful germ-fighting activity by helping to cleanse the air.

If you love the smell of cinnamon, orange and cloves, you will absolutely LOVE diffusing this blend! It is both comforting and festive.

Tea Tree

Ok, you might be like a lot of people and not particularly enjoy this smell. It can seem medicinal or remind you too much of cleaning products.

But tea tree essential oil is a great anti-microbial and support to the immune system. I disperse 2-3 drops in my son’s evening bath as a preventative measure.

I honestly believe EVERYONE should always have a bottle of tea tree essential oil in their home.

In Tune

This is actually one of the first essential oils I ever bought when I started introducing essential oils into my non-toxic lifestyle.

We got feedback from my son’s teacher that he was having a hard time focusing in class… so, like I always do, I asked myself what essential oil could support him through this and did some research.

To this day, I roll this blend on the back of my son’s neck on school days and especially before we do homework.

Kids Collection

These last six oils are pre-mixed essential oil blends conveniently packaged in roller bottles and specifically designed for children.

These are a lifesaver for any parent. They cover the big items kids deal with:

  • Stronger – to help prevent illness (the kid’s version of On Guard).
  • Calmer – to help unwind at the end of the day or manage difficult emotions.
  • Steady – to help stay grounded and keep balanced.
  • Rescuer – for playground + gym class “ouchies” and tension.
  • Brave – to reduce anxiety and promote courage + confidence.
  • Thinker – to remain on task + focused and promote clarity + alertness.

Roll these oils along the spine or under the feet daily, picking the blend best-suited to the situation.

You don’t have to “tough it out” or just “hope for the best” this back-to-school season. You CAN empower yourself and be that “annoying” parent whose kid just flows through childhood challenges like a champ.

Trust me, it’s fun šŸ˜‰

Get the oils you need for your family here, and join the Rustik Health community to save 25% on all your purchases by clicking “Become a Member” then “Wholesale Customer”.

M.


Nutrition and non-toxic living

Although non-toxic living is my jam, I talk A LOT about food.

This might seem incongruent but, IMO, it goes hand in hand. You see, a good portion of our toxic exposure comes from the foods we eat. That could be from conventionally grown produce that is covered in pesticide-residue or packaged foods filled with additives.

You might think:

  • The pesticide amounts are so minute
  • Our bodies are designed to detoxify/eliminate bad stuff
  • It’s safe; otherwise, why would they sell it?

But really, who knows for sure?!

The lawsuits against a very large offender continue to this day…

The problem I see is that most of us have NO IDEA how well our bodies are metabolizing these toxins. Are you 100% confident your kidneys, liver, GI tract and skin are running optimally? I sure ain’t.

The more I research this area, the more I see our body leaves clues and we need to pay better attention to them. And the more I believe our detoxification + eliminative pathways are in need of more support.

Here are three ways to love on your detox organs:

  • Eat organic: one of the best things you can do is avoid conventionally grown food in the first place. I realize this is not realistic for all of us… it’s not always available and can be cost-prohibitive. Just do your best. If it has a thick peel, like melons or avocados, it’s usually not worth spending the extra buck.
  • Up your fruit intake: fruits are some of the most astringent and hydrating foods on the planet. They will help cleanse out your lymphatic system, which is basically your body’s sewage system. You want to make sure it’s not clogged up. Here are some of my favourites.
  • Use essential oils: essential oils are a simple and effective way to help move toxins out of the body and support your cleansing organs. My whole passion for oils and the reason I became an advocate + educator stems from a detoxification blend called Zendocrine I purchased for my son. I am currently obsessed with Juniper Berry to support my kidneys. I shop my oils here.
  • Rebuild with herbs: you can be rebounding to move your lymph or exercising to sweat out the toxins but if your eliminative pathways are blocked, you won’t get far. Herbs are a great way to support kidneys, liver, GI tract and any system in your body. Be sure to always check with your health practitioner before you begin using herbs if you have a medical condition, are on medications or have any concerns.

So now you better understand the two sides of non-toxic living: reducing your toxic exposure AND supporting your body’s natural elimination processes.

Got questions? Comment below.

M.

PS – do you want to learn more about non-toxic living and the different ways you can support your health naturally? Make sure to join my email list to receive valuable information every two months.

Processingā€¦
Success! You're on the list.

What is non-toxic living?

I just realized I’ve been sharing toxic-free, plant-based living for 2.5 years now and I’ve never actually provided my own “Rustik Health definition”. Just like anything else, non-toxic living means different things to different people.

The easiest way for me to define it is by explaining what it is and what it is not in my view.

What it is

Non-toxic living is about avoiding any man-made chemical in the products we consume internally, put on our bodies and use in our homes. It is also about ensuring our bodies are functioning optimally to metabolize any existing toxins we have stored over the years and the toxins we can’t avoid exposure to in our daily lives.

Non-toxic living is a continuum. You can take it as far as you want to go… and you can make it a quick journey or a slower, ongoing journey. Personally, I hopped on the bandwagon about a decade ago and made some drastic changes initially but have kept a more moderate pace ever since.

Non-toxic living is a LIFESTYLE. It is a practice that weaves seamlessly into your everyday living. And while it may seem daunting at first, you will soon realize that it is WAY:

  • SIMPLER – no more driving across town to various natural health stores to get all the products you need. When you do run out, you can usually quickly whip up a new batch.
  • CHEAPER – many of the ingredients can be found at discount stores and they often serve multiple purposes.
  • GREENER – again, one product can serve multiple purposes so less plastic bottles make their way into our homes (and, ultimately, landfills).

What it is NOT

Non-toxic living is not about perfection. Nope… I don’t own an organic mattress (yet!) and I haven’t replaced my stash of nail polish (I just avoid wearing any as much as possible) and I’m still searching for an effective DIY dishwasher machine soap (working on it!). It’s about focusing on the positive changes you are making and not on the places you fall short.

Non-toxic living is about accepting certain social constraints and, especially, not judging others. Yes, I will use that toxic-ingredient-filled hand soap at the restaurant and won’t dart out of a room sprayed with synthetic fragrance (although I may hold my breath for a while… lol!). We’re not all of the same mind or beliefs and that is TOTALLY OKAY.

Non-toxic living is not about knowing and understanding all of the questionable toxic chemicals out there. Honestly, I used to try to remember them all… then I figured why on earth would I bog down my brain with that useless information?! At the end of the day, all you need to know is they are either: neurotoxic (super bad for your brain), endocrine-disruptive (they mess with your hormones) and/or carcinogenic (screw up your DNA).

When you live a non-toxic lifestyle, you frankly couldn’t care less about the names of all those toxic ingredients in our foods and products because they are no longer part of your world… they become completely IRRELEVANT.

Innocent until proven guilty

People will argue that in many cases there’s no proof these man-made chemicals carry negative effects. I say that’s exactly why I avoid them as much as possible. I’m not going to be a guinea pig (and neither is my family), plus there’s no good reason to use most of them. Nature has provided us with the powerful and safe tools we need.

While I see value in the notion of “innocent until proven guilty” in the context of criminal justice, I see ZERO value in it in the context of the safety of man-made chemicals.

What steps have you taken lately towards a non-toxic lifestyle?

M.

PS – I’ll soon be offering group challenges to help you either get started on your non-toxic lifestyle or push your existing journey one step further. Sign up below to BE THE FIRST to know more!

Processingā€¦
Success! You're on the list.

Liquid sunshine morning drink

I have to say this binge-watching of hardcore juice-pushers and fruitarian-eating YouTube videos is lasting MUCH longer than I expected it to. It’s also having an insane impact on my “diet”.

Only a few months ago, I would have told you I would NEVER remove meat from my “diet”… but ALL animal products (except bee products) have gone out the window these last several weeks except for the very rare occasion.

For the record, I hate the word “diet” which is why it’s in quotation marks. I really, really hate it. Can we remove it from the modern vocabulary?!

I was already eating loads of veggies but I’ve shifted my focus to the fruit – the melons, the berries and the grapes (you can read why here). I’ve even TONED DOWN the veggies.

The ultimate goal is to eventually go 100% raw but I still crave the odd roasted vegetable. We’ll see how my body adjusts to the already drastic changes I’ve done and we’ll go from there. I do see myself (finally!) being able to do a real juice fast and I’m actually excited about it instead of dreading it.

So whether or not this type of eating is good for everyone would certainly spark a huge debate. Always do your research before switching anything up and reach out to your healthcare professional if you have any reason to be concerned.

I’m personally going this route because it makes sense to me that fruit (and some fruits in particular) are highly astringent, cleansing and hydrating compared to most vegetables and the other food groups.

And if the so-called expert sources I’m paying attention to now are correct, all my current health issues center around excess mucus (I know, that sounds gross…). I am voluntarily being a guinea pig to see if I can break it up and eliminate it from my body through these food changes.

I’ve been having good days and bad days but it’s all part of the healing process. I’ve got decades of milk-drinking and salami-eating under my belt so I expect it’ll take a few years to undo it all.

One of my favourite quotes is from actress Kristen Bell’s therapist. She shared that he once told her: “you can’t walk 10 miles into the woods and expect to get out in 5…” It was said in a totally different context but I think it applies really well to health.

What about this liquid sunshine morning drink you ask?! Am I ever going to get around to talking about it???

Well, it’s how I’ve been starting my days on this fruitarian regime. The first thing I’ve been drinking is a mish mash of citrus juices: the ULTIMATE mucus destroyers.

There’s no precise recipe here… I’ll take whatever combo I’m feeling that day of lemon, lime, orange and/or grapefruit, use my citrus press machine and fill up a 6 oz glass. To protect my enamel, I’ll use a straw or chug it so fast down the back of my throat it never gets to touch my teeth.

Side note: depending on your health struggles, high-acid fruit to break your fast in the morning might not be the best option. Some days I’m not feeling the acidity and will reach for watermelon.

I’ll share more about what I’m doing and how things are working as I continue to move forward on this journey. To get the latest blog post updates, make sure you subscribe to my blog so you can get the notifications in your emails. Or, join my mailing list.

Cheers to citrus juice!

M.

Processingā€¦
Success! You're on the list.