If someone were to tell me a year ago that I would make Oxygen Magazine’s Top 10 Most Inspiring Success Stories I wouldn’t have believed them. I am completely honoured to say the least. It’s thanks to Tosca Reno, The Eat Clean Diet, my fitness coach, teammates, friends and family for helping me get to this amazing place in my life where I feel balanced, strong, and healthy. 2013—let’s do this.
Weight before: 145 lb (89 lb during anorexia)
Weight now: 105 lb
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Occupation: Nutritionist/yoga instructor/fitness model
Weighing 145 pounds after a period of binge eating that followed years of anorexia (her lowest weight was 89 pounds back in 2005), Zain knew it was time to commit to a lifestyle of consistent, healthy habits rather than bouncing between two extremes. “When I started practicing mindfulness, everything changed,” says Zain.
Spending time with herself was the first step. After some reflection, Zain realized that her body image was a wreck and that her eating habits stemmed from a desire to be accepted by others. Applying mindfulness techniques she had learned through yoga and meditation, she decided once and for all not to succumb to her own “mind games.” Zain began to practice deep breathing, boosted her motivation by repeating inspiring mantras, hired a personal trainer, and began to educate herself in clean eating.
To combat emotional eating, she stopped having meals while working, watching TV or chatting on the phone. “When I didn’t focus on the meal, I would get to the end and never feel satisfied,” she says, which led to late-night snacking.
“I faced my fears and worked through them,” says Zain, who lost 40 pounds the healthy way and now teaches private workshops for women recovering from eating disorders. “Mindfulness has taught me to cultivate humility, maintain discipline and choose love rather than fear.”
Zain’s Mindfulness Mantras
Getting her mind and body in sync was monumental to Zain’s success. Her tips?
• During a meal, savor each bite, chewing slowly while admiring the colors, textures, aromas and flavors.
• Dine outdoors or near a window to calm your body and mind.
• Before your workouts, perform a mental “body scan.” Ask yourself, how are you feeling that day? Are you energetic? Tired? Stressed? Are any of your muscles sore? Are you carrying tension? Every time you scan your body, become familiar with its needs for that workout.
• While weight training, pay attention to your breathing.
What does living “mindful” mean to you?
Incorporating mindfulness changed my life and was the key to my recovery and weight loss.
Sometimes we all just need to chill out, refocus, and live life in the moment. In honor of #beatstress month, I shared my tips on Tosca Reno’s blog.
You’ll also find a video where I explain some of the ways that I practice mindfulness in my life like conscious breathing, eating, and grounding myself. Take a peek and take control of your life…starting now!
What packs a punch, satisfies a sugar craving, and won’t wreak havoc on your waistline?
My DavidsTea Alpine Punch Glazed Nuts are made with the newest addition to their Winter Collection (which I’m in LOVE with!), and the folks at this amazing company shared my latest recipe on their Facebook page today!
Besides just munching on solo, these are great to sprinkle on oatmeal, cereal, yogurt, or even salads. Plus they make the perfect gift (can you believe Christmas is only a few weeks away?!)
You’ll go nuts for this revamped version, so get munching on this recipe.
You may have seen some of my photographs where I have been clad head to toe in one of my favourite yoga/lifestyle clothing brands Public Myth.
If you haven’t checked out their awesome gear yet and love quality yoga clothing that is stylish, comfortable, sexy and long lasting you definitely have to check out this collection.
Tomorrow, I have been invited to shoot a very special video that will be featured sometime in November (I’ll keep you posted) and of course I picked up all of my awesome wardrobe from Public Myth!
Check out some of the gorgeous gear I’m wearing from the new Fall/Winter 2012 Collection!
What’s your dirty little secret?
We all crave that certain something that gives us instant gratificiation…but then makes us feel guilty and full of regret soon afterwards.
I’m talking about dirty recipes of course!
Ever since announcing my Recipe Revamp contest, I’ve had some great suggestions from people looking to clean up their favorite ‘forbidden’ comfort foods. From fettuccine Alfredo to nanaimo bars to butter chicken, I’m ready to take on the challenge!
Sunwarrior Protein Powder
I’m so excited to have Zain’s Classic Raw Ice Cream Sandwich recipe featured on the Sunwarrior News and Facebook Fan Page today!
For those of you unfamiliar with Sunwarrior, it is my go to source for raw, vegan protein and is used in so many of my signature recipes and here’s why:
- Protein is the most abundant molecule, apart from water, in the body. We always think of muscle when we talk of protein and amino acids, but these essential building blocks are used in every cell throughout the body.
- Protein facilitates digestion and the absorption of nutrients. It helps carry these nutrients into cells. It removes waste and toxins. Protein combines with vitamins and minerals to move oxygen from the lungs to the cells that desperately need it to survive and to allow proteins to act as antioxidants, cleaning up free radicals that do cellular damage and contribute to aging. Protein aids the immune system in recognizing and removing threats to our health and wellness. Protein even goes into hormones our bodies use to balance and regulate hundreds of systems and functions, from blood sugar to emotions.
- Proteins do have a weakness though. Their kryptonite: heat. Heat breaks the bonds that hold the twists and folds together, destroying any abilities that protein might have once had. Many of the enzymes we eat in food help break down other proteins during digestion and also make many vitamins and minerals easier to absorb, but cooking removes these benefits. Heat can also create cross bonding between proteins where denatured chains randomly link to other chains. These cross bound proteins are harder to digest and put to use, so many of the amino acids are lost to the body and discarded as waste.
- There are other problems with the protein we eat. Since the body doesn’t store amino acids, we do need a daily supply, but too much can be harmful. Excessive protein bogs down digestion, can supply way more calories than we need, and do harm to the liver and kidneys. Too little is also a problem, making us weak and more susceptible to disease and illness.
- Sunwarrior strives to provide a clean, healthy amount of quality protein with a balanced amino acid profile, not too much, not too little. This protein is also raw, undamaged by heat, and ready for maximum absorption. Sunwarrior can be easily added to vegan protein smoothies for the best, plant-based amino acids in and amazing performance out, without the downsides of gluten, denatured proteins, allergens, or phytoestrogens that can be found elsewhere.
A couple of weeks ago I shared my recipe for a classic ice cream sandwich with an unexpected twist: it’s raw, gluten free, sugar free, and actually good for you! My secret ingredient is Sunwarrior protein, which you may have noticed I use in many of my recipes.
Zain’s Classic Vegan Pumpkin Pie (Raw OR Baked)
I can’t tell you how excited I am to dig into this right after Thanksgiving dinner tonight as pumpkin pie is one of my all-time FAVOURITE desserts!!
There’s something about pumpkin pie that brings us right into the spirit of fall. Ruby, topaz and tourmaline leaves decorate the once emerald trees, early orange sunsets and markets are filled with roots of all shapes, colours and sizes ready to be prepared into soups, stews, roasts and pies.
Pumpkins are one of the emblematic of these roots and are used in so many different harvest recipes because of their diversity and nutrient content. Rich in Vitamin A, antioxidants alpha & beta carotines, vitamins C, K, E pumpkins are also high in minerals such as potassium, magnesium and iron, and energetically they aid in grounding and rooting in a time when change is rampant.
Whether baked or raw, this simple sugar-free, gluten-free, vegan recipe is sure to become one of your fall favourites!
For Zain’s Raw Vegan Pumpkin Pie recipe, click here.
**Makes 1 8-9 Inch Pie, to make 2 mini pies half the recipe
Zain’s Classic Baked Vegan Pumpkin Pie
1 Cup Uncontaminated Oat Flour (ground oats)
11/2 Cup Walnuts OR Pecans
1 Tbsp Maple Syrup (optional but delicious)
1 Tbsp Organic Flax Seeds
10-15 Drops Liquid Vanilla Creme Stevia
Pinch Himalayan Crystal Salt (optional)
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
Canola Cooking Spray OR Coconut Oil to grease pan
2 Cups + 1/4 Cup Roasted Sugar Pumpkin OR Canned Pumpkin
11/2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1 Tsp Coconut Butter (or Cashew Butter, I prefer Coconut)
1/4 Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
10-15 Drops Vanilla Creme Liquid Stevia
2 Tsp Arrowroot Powder (or Cornstarch)
2 Tsp Natural Vanilla
11/2 Tsp Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp Fresh Ginger
1/4 Tsp Nutmeg
1/4 Tsp All Spice
Directions (for Classic Baked):
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. In a food processor, blend oat flour (if using oat blend these first into a fine flour before adding remaining ingredients), walnuts, flax seeds, maple syrup, coconut oil and vanilla creme liquid stevia until a crumbly consistency forms. Test by holding a small scoop in your hand to be sure that the mixture clumps together (if not, add another tsp coconut oil)
3. In an 8-9 inch sprayed pie pan, press the crust firmly into the pan and up the sides of the pan to form a 1/2 inch thick crust. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned
4. Meanwhile, use a food processor to blend pumpkin, unsweetened almond milk, arrow root powder, vanilla, dates, coconut butter, maple syrup, ginger, cinnamon, all spice and nutmeg until pureed. Taste to be sure you like the combination of spices or adjust according to your taste. I like mine heavy on the cinnamon
5. Remove crust and spoon out the pumpkin filling over the crust, smoothing out with a spoon
6. Cover with tin foil and bake for 50-55 minutes. Remove and cool for at least an hour and refrigerate overnight before slicing.
Optional Toppings Include: Zain’s Coconut Whip, Ground Walnuts
Zain’s Pumpkin Pie Pancakes & Vegan Pumpkin Pie Pancakes
As many of you know, I’m a pancake girl. Clean pancakes are one of my breakfast staples and have kept me from old habits of late night indulging because I have such a delicious breakfast to look forward too.
I have been known to enjoy them throughout the day as a post-workout meal or sometimes on those days that I could use a little extra comfort, I opt for them yes, even for dinner.
They are so hearty, earthy and satisfying and make you feel like you are cheating with pumpkin pie every time.
This recipe is not only seriously yummy, it offers the nutrient benefit of potassium-rich pumpkin, which aids in recovery, the absorption of vitamins and minerals, omega-rich flax seeds and blood-sugar stabilizing oats. They are high in protein and utilize fat-torching ingredients cinnamon and fresh ginger.
For Zain’s VEGAN Pumpkin Pie Recipe, click here (and be sure to scroll down to the bottom!)
8 Organic Egg Whites
3/4 Cup Slow Cook Organic Oats
1/2 Tbsp Organic Flax Seeds
15-20 Drops Vanilla Creme Stevia OR Liquid Stevia OR 1 packets of Powdered Stevia
1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
1/4 Tsp All Spice
1/4 Tsp Nutmeg
1/2” Fresh Ginger
1/3 Cup Organic BPA-Free Pumpkin Puree OR Fresh Pumpkin Puree
1 Tsp Extra Virgin Coconut Oil OR Canola Cooking Spray
11/2 Tbsp Maple Syrup, pinch of cinnamon and Zain’s Coconut Whip to top
1. Blend all ingredients in magic bullet or food processor
2. Spray pan with cooking spray or coconut oil and then spread batter evenly over pan
3. Cook until golden and slightly crispy on both sides
4. Top with cinnamon and maple syrup and Zain’s Coconut Whip