Having good health is important for living a good life full of happiness. Let Mountain Trek help you improve your health and wellbeing.


How is Sprouted Grain Bread Different?

By Jennifer Keirstead, Holistic Nutritionist

Now you can Have Your Bread and Eat it Too

Sprouted Grains

Sprouted grain bread is becoming increasingly mainstream, and for good reason.

Sprouting is the practice of germinating seeds. This process makes the seeds come to life, as they literally begin to grow little shoots, making their nutrients more digestible.

Whole grains naturally contain valuable vitamins, minerals, amino acids, proteins, and phytochemicals. When grains are sprouted, it makes these valuable nutrients more bio-available; offering more absorbable nutrients.

A wise teacher once told me, “You are what you absorb, not what you eat.”

Dr. Mary Enig explains how sprouted grain breads contain enzymes to effectively break down gluten and other difficult-to-digest wheat components. She notes, that “if you’re diabetic, sprouted breads have a lower glycemic index and won’t cause post-meal blood-sugar levels or blood-fat counts to spike upwards.” Enig also points out that if you’re reducing calories, sprouted wheat breads provide ounce-for-ounce, more protein and nutrition than many pre-packaged, highly-processed “diet foods.”

Sprouted grain differs from other whole grains in 3 important ways:

  1. Sprouting activates live enzymes;
  2. Sprouting increases vitamin content;
  3. Sprouting neutralizes anti-nutrients like phytic acid, which bind up minerals, preventing your ability to fully absorb them.

When examining the nutrient density of sprouted wheat to un-sprouted wheat on a calorie-per-calorie basis, you’ll find that sprouted wheat contains four times the amount of niacin and nearly twice the amount of vitamin B6 and folate compared to un-sprouted wheat. It also contains more protein and fewer starches than non-sprouted grain, making it more suitable for those suffering from blood sugar issues.

As you may already know, we love Sprouted Manna bread at Mountain Trek! Try one of the sprouted grain breakfasts we offer our guests.


Letting the Body Heal

By Jennifer Keirstead, Holistic Nutritionist

Close-up of a woman hiking with poles and backpack

Listen to your body’s cues for health.

Listening for Clues to Health

The body’s ability to heal itself has always amazed me. I suffered from asthma my entire childhood and now I’ve been puffer-free for over 15 years. I attribute my healing to listening to my body’s cues. These are the little, hidden messages that your body gives you and is its way of communicating. My asthma was a clue, a sign of my body’s obvious distress–but I just wasn’t listening.

I had never linked my need for steroid puffers to my food choices.

We all have our own unique needs. Some of the most common barriers to healing I see in my practice are food-related or stress-induced. While inadequate sleep, food allergies, and toxic overload can be contributing factors as well.

Most people suffering from chronic pain and disease are handed a prescription. I believe the self-healing approach to illness involves identifying the cause of the pain; emotional or physical. My experience has been that addressing the cause of the pain at all of the emotional, mental and physical levels brings about the most successful long term results. By addressing the underlying causes, rather than chronically masking the symptoms with medications we allow our body to heal itself.

Taking Time to Heal

There are several approaches one can take to heal themselves naturally. One important component is to remember that true healing takes time.

Begin by seeking out a healthcare professional to help discover what the root causes are. From there, create a day-to-day approach, integrating/removing one thing at a time. This tends to be less intimidating than trying to navigate everything, all at once, on your own.

Symptoms are gifts

Like life itself, our body sends messages to us daily. This feedback conveys valuable information. Listening provides insights and a deeper understanding of ways to improve our own personal health.

Drugs and other medications, which suppress symptoms, can convey a false sense of healing. Then, we may not bother to search for reasons, or to ask “why?” While drugs may certainly have a place for certain cases, pharmaceutical drugs come with their own side effects.

Just think how comforting it is to know and trust in the fact that the body is inherently programmed for healing. But, to let the body do this important work, we must allow it time and we must be patient. We do our part by adopting a sense of trust rather than fear, as we provide for ourselves simple healing balms like good food, rest and sleep, fresh air and sunshine, exercise, as well as a sense of gratitude – as well as enough time and space to connect with ourselves.

“The body is a master at self-healing. Its natural blueprint of healing wisdom is far too complex for us to completely unravel. And, that is good. It allows us to replace fear with trust. All we need is to appreciate that simple nutritional and lifestyle habits attuned to nature can do much to restore and support the body’s inherent harmony and congruency.” –Carol Kenney, Ph.D. in the Science of Natural Health

We can all heal our bodies naturally. The key is to listen to what it needs.

What is Mountain Trek?

Mountain Trek is the health reset you’ve been looking for. Our award-winning retreat, immersed in the lush nature of British Columbia, will help you unplug, recharge, and roll back years of stress and unhealthy habits. To learn more about the retreat, and how we can help you reset your health, please email us at info@mountaintrek.com or reach out below:

Stress Less on Your Business Trip

How to stay health on business travel
Does your career require you to travel?  Whether you love or hate it, it doesn’t have be a dreaded journey of indigestion, poor sleep, stress and anxiety.

Is it possible to adopt a “spa retreat” state of mind along the way, so your cortisol isn’t sky high?  With a bit of planning and intention, there are things you can do to stay more relaxed and calm amidst the hectic pace.

Physical and Psychological Management of Stress on the Road

  • Stretch and/or Massage – release those tight muscles with a stretch. Massage increases the “feel good” hormone oxytocin by 30% and lowers the “stress” hormone cortisol. Hop on the 15 minute chair massage at the airport, or have a quick visit to the local spa.
  • Support your body – maintain your energy levels and immune system with nutritional supplements, especially with B vitamins.
  • Eat well – bring healthy snacks from home, such as protein or super greens powder for smoothies on the run. At restaurants, choose salads and slow burning complex carbohydrates, which will sustain you better than a muffin, and will keep your blood sugar levels normal.
  • Exercise – bring workout or walking clothes; it will burn off stress, raise serotonin and endorphin levels, and help you sleep.
  • Hydrate – drink plenty as dehydration hits quickly on planes and in stuffy offices, leading to fatigue and foggy thinking. Take a water bottle with you everywhere.
  • Sleep – bow out on the 10:00pm cocktail and honor your body’s need to rest.  Have a bath, bring earplugs and a good book to help you doze off.
  • Meditate – calm racing negative thoughts and visualize positive outcomes.
  • Listen – travel with your iPod or MP3 and fill it with relaxing music
  • Breathe – practice mindful, deep belly breathing
  • Go with the flow – don’t worry about circumstances you have no control over
  • Bring astress ball” – squeeze it to release anxiety
  • Practice gratitude – be grateful for all the gifts in your life; it will lift your mood and shift your perspective.

Enjoy your next business trip!


Detox Your Mind

Fed up with the steady onslaught of bad news and anxiety in the world?  With the depressing media stories and global strife which creates worry over things you have no control over, the daily news does not often support a peaceful and relaxed state of mind.

Thanks to technology, bad news is everywhere now, and taking a break from the negativity of it is essential to your health on all levels; physically, mentally and emotionally.  Feeling clear, balanced and good in your life is not just a fanciful memory of way things used to be, but a state of being that with intention, only you can create for yourself.

Along with the fitness and weight loss benefits of vacationing at a Wellness Retreat, the rising trend of “healthy vacations” is answering the need for allowing people to unplug from their stressful lives, the TV and computer, unhealthy habits, and  cram-packed schedules that leaves little time for self reflection and adequate sleep, let alone feeling full of vitality.

Guests Hiking

Detoxification is any process that removes injurious substances from your body.

If you’re regularly being exposed to unpleasant news, or barely manage to juggle an overloaded schedule of too many obligations and deadlines, have you considered taking a detox break from that lifestyle as well?  The effects of these stressors is far reaching, such as skyrocketing Cortisol levels (the stress hormone), which wreaks havoc on your metabolism, immune system and hormones.  And we won’t mention the bad moods, irritability and depression.

If you’re of an age to remember the days before computers, email and smart phones, than part of you longs to return to that way of being, if only for a short while, and if only to remember what it feels like to be yourself again without gadgets, technology and a long list of to-dos.

If you’re feeling overburdened in your body and mind, you’re certainly not alone.  That’s why more people than ever are turning to Fitness Retreats as their answer to distressing, detoxing, losing weight, and unplugging from their busy lives.

Free (to) Range

Free Range EggsBy Jennifer Keirstead, Holistic Nutritionist at Mountain Trek

We all love eggs but did you know that not all eggs are created equal?

You’ve probably heard of “free range” before.  According to Wikipedia, “free range is a method of farming where animals are permitted to freely roam about. This principle allows the animals as much freedom as possible to live in a reasonably natural way.

PETA claims that, “Many animal products labeled free range do allow their livestock access to outdoor areas, but here’s the catch; there’s no provision for how long they spend or how much room they must have outside.” Often times criteria such as environmental quality, size of area, number of animals or space per animal, is not exactly accounted for. It has also been revealed that outdoor conditions can be extremely unsuitable for the animals due to the lack of trees and shade, grass and other vegetation.

Here’s the thing; chickens, like most other birds, are omnivores who love to graze in grasses, forage for worms, grubs and insects and dig for micro flora found in soil. These nutrients are more bio-available than those found in corn and most supplements that commercially-raised chickens are being fed. Chickens will eat grain and pellets but it certainly isn’t their ideal food. The exposure to natural light, as well as the opportunity to stretch their legs and gain predatory stimulation can’t be underestimated for their mental and physical health and well being.

Their living situation has a direct effect on the eggs they produce. Without a doubt, a low stress lifestyle and natural diet contribute to eggs with higher nutrient value, Many notice that some yolks are brightly colored yellow (almost orange), indicating an egg which is loaded with fat-soluble, antioxidant nutrients. Expect to find the more vivid colored yolks in the spring when the grass and bugs are plentiful. Also, bear in mind, variations will be seen due to differences in breed and age of chickens, their exact diet and the season.

Free Range HensSally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions, explains that,

“Eggs provide all eight essential protein building amino acids. A large whole, fresh egg offers about six to seven grams of protein and five grams of (healthy) fat. One egg serves up the valuable vitamins A, K, E, D, B-complex and minerals iron, phosphorus, potassium and calcium; as well as choline, a fatty substance found in every living cell and is a major component of our brain.”

Fallon expresses that by, “Subjecting chickens to a strictly vegetarian diet prevents them from achieving their ideal health by denying them the nutrients found through scavenging around the farm, barnyard and pasture. Compared to eggs from conventionally raised, caged hens; eggs produced by free-roaming, pasture-pecking hens, have far more omega-3 fatty acids and all other nutrients.”

So she advises getting “eggs from girls who have true access to the great out of doors.”

In more and more communities, local farmers and even your friendly neighbors are raising free-to-range, happy, healthy chickens. This is good news for the egg-lover. This way, we get to see with our own eyes, hens roaming free in environments in which they favor.

If you’re unable to buy eggs from a local farm or neighbor, the S.P.C.A. has a certified and trusted label; meaning the food products bearing this stamp have been inspected and certified to Canadian S.P.C.A. developed farm animal welfare standards. Battery cages and gestation crates are not allowed under this certified program. The program runs on “5 Freedoms,” which includes, “Freedom from hunger and thirst, freedom from discomfort, freedom from pain, injury and disease, freedom from distress and freedom to express behaviors that promote well-being.”

It seems like a win-win to me. Free-to-range chickens are happily left to frolic and forage and therefore, we get nutrient dense eggs full of the nutritional components Mother Nature intended.

Jennifer Keirstead, RHN

How Long can Rapid Weight Loss be Sustained?

woman exerciseAs people research their options of boot camp style fitness programs, they often ask; “how long should I go for the most lasting impact?”  And “How can I continue rapid weight loss after I’m back home?”

Besides taking a break and unplugging from their busy lives for some adventure and unparalleled hiking terrain, for many people, quick weight loss is their goal.  Along with the activities and lower calories to quickly shed pounds while here, we also educate our guests about healthy habits for the long term.  Learning about nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices will enable people to continue components of our program, in a sustainable, healthy way at home.

Maxing Your Stay at a Fitness Retreat

The ideal duration of our program is 2-week increments. We see maximum weight loss results with the 2-week “The Renewal” program, instead of doing the program continuously for 3 or 4 weeks.  Not only would 4 weeks of continual “boot camp” style activities produce wear and tear, the body has a natural response to prolonged excursion that prevents rapid weight loss from continuing.

Metabolically, the body burns the most fat during the kick-start phase of weeks 1 and 2.  After 2 weeks of the Program, we have historically seen with guests that the rate of weight loss slows down to half after continuing into the 3rd and 4th weeks.  This is due to the body’s reaction to the continual physical rate of excursion, and its “plateau” response of hanging on to calories / fat as a “starvation” response.

Your Body’s Wise to Sustained Excursion

Our bodies are designed to adapt to conditions of feast or famine, athletic activity or sedentary lounging, and will retain calories when it recognizes the need.  Safely “shocking” the system with intense physical excursion and lower calorie intake results in rapid weight loss.  However, the body will ensure it doesn’t burn fat so easily if this continues, and will then hang on to calories for survival.

Benefits of Shorter and Longer Fitness Vacations

For guests that really need to unplug from their busy life, Mountain Trek certainly does accommodate 3 or 4 week stays, with the flexibility of “rest days”.  For some people, a longer break is the ideal combination of rapid weight loss at the outset, and thorough rejuvenating and detoxing.

But for those that are focused on rapid weight loss in less time, it is most effective to kick-start their fat burning with coming for 1 or 2 weeks in our supportive environment, breaking old habits and learning new ones, and either carrying on components of the Program at home, (which they’ll learn), or coming back for a refresher.