Nutrition

Learn more about Nutrition and it’s effect on living a healthy lifestyle. Nutrition is a factor in stress and weight gain.

Meet Chef Simon Vine & His New Recipes

Chef Simon Vine makes rutabaga spaghetti with tempeh-almond ‘meatballs’ and a tomato-cashew rosee sauce at Mountain Trek

Chef Simon Vine makes rutabaga spaghetti with tempeh-almond ‘meatballs’ and a tomato-cashew rosee sauce at Mountain Trek

Let’s be real, a large reason you’re coming and/or have come to Mountain Trek is for the food, more appropriately referenced as ridiculously-delicious, organic spa cuisine, that just so happens to be calorie-controlled to reset your metabolism. But who’s the mastermind behind our nourishing meals and snacks? Who is this menu-Einstein we all want to take home with us?

This year, we’re excited to introduce Simon Vine, Mountain Trek’s very much invaluable Head Chef. Through a rigorous vetting process, we hired Simon to take the reins of Mountain Trek’s meal-creation not just because he’s a wizard in the kitchen, but because he has journeyed through life in a way that closely aligns with our program’s ethos.     

 

Simon Vine Mountain Trek Head Chef

Mountain Trek Head Chef Simon Vine

In 2016, Simon Vine had worked his way up from being Executive Chef at a renowned fishing resort to catering for up to 300 people in the film industry. He was on top of the world. Behind the scenes, however, the 80-hour weeks were causing him to physically and mentally deteriorate. Depleted, Simon moved from Vancouver, Canada, to a remote island. There, he spent six weeks letting go of a stressful, hustle-bustle routine devoid of sleep and healthful food. He recommitted to himself, promising to return to his roots. He yearned for the plant-based, outdoor-oriented lifestyle of his childhood.

Simon and his wife never returned to the rat race; instead, they moved to the Kootenay Mountains. At Mountain Trek, Chef Simon is able to balance work with camping, biking, hiking and skiing, and he has rekindled his appreciation of a wide range of ethnic cuisines and ingredients.

Simon’s meticulously-crafted spa cuisine is both balanced and bold, light and intensely flavorful, and it’s created with the intention of helping others positively change their lives. While he’ll be bringing back many guest favorites this season, he’s also excited to be rolling out a few new dishes; he is, after all, dedicated to elevating our meals, while ensuring they stay within the program’s framework.

He says, “I’ve been busy counting calories and ensuring that we are able to deliver the results people want, without compromising on flavor and quality. We’ve also brought in some new cooking techniques with the addition of a “sous-vide” circulator to our kitchen.”      

Regarding what’s new on the menu, Simon says, “One new dish I’m really excited about is the seared steelhead salmon with parsnip puree, grilled fennel and radicchio salad, and tomato-caper relish. The steelhead we feature is an amazing local British Columbia fish, which is produced sustainably. The beautiful mild flavor of the fish is complemented by the rich sweetness of parsnips, as well as the fresh and bright flavors of the fennel and radicchio salad.” Rounded out with the sweet and tangy bite of the tomato caper-relish, Simon says, “This dish is a winner in my books!”

To whet your whistle just a little more, Simon says, “I’m also really excited about the rutabaga spaghetti with tempeh-almond ‘meatballs’ and a tomato-cashew rosee sauce, which will be accompanied with a kale caesar salad.” He says, “It’s a really healthy and interesting twist on the ultimate comfort food: spaghetti and meatballs.”

Eating isn’t just about curbing hunger pangs–it’s about nourishing a healthy and active body. The Mountain Trek program doesn’t offer a “diet”; instead, we eat seasonal, local, wild and organic foods six times over the course of the day to properly absorb all nutrients and avoid energy crashes. Each meal and snack is individually prepared for your body and your goals for the week, and are free of processed foods, stimulants or toxins, allowing your body to heal and strengthen.  If you feel in need of a health reset, join us for a week of exercising in nature, de-stressing in the spa, and clean eating.

5 Steps To A Merry, Healthful Holiday

family at a dinner table enjoying food and wineThe holidays are a time for family, warmth, and indulging — but we can often end up with bad sleep habits, little or no fitness regimen, and putting on a couple of unwanted pounds from holiday festivities. However, you can still enjoy the holidays without going overboard and go into the holiday season with confidence!

These are our top tips for a healthy holiday:


1. Make A Commitment To Be Kind To Yourself

Like we’ve discussed before — no major lifestyle change is successful without empathy for the self. When we set unrealistic expectations for ourselves (never having carbs again, exercising every single day), when we inevitably falter, our sense of failure and shame often results in giving up entirely. Smaller, incremental changes are the key to long-term success.

No one is perfect: creating space for your own imperfections will allow you to both enjoy the holidays to their fullest as well as stay conscientious about your health priorities.

2. Map Out Your Holiday Season Events

Holiday parties? Check. Cookie swaps? Check. Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Christmas, New Years’ Eve, school parties, work parties, and more — get them all on your calendar. Then, take a step back and identify which events you really want to indulge in, and which you can approach with moderation in mind.

Make sure to prioritize indulging in the things you really love: Do you make cookies as a family every year? Do you and your spouse adore the company holiday party each year? Don’t rob yourself of your favorites.

By that same token, don’t “waste” calories on events that aren’t a priority. Creating this balance will help manage holiday indulgences.

3. Create & Stick To A Plan During The Week

In order to offset indulgences at events, be sure to stick to a nutrition, fitness, sleep, and stress plan during the week. With whirlwind events and cold/flu season, it’s the perfect time to prioritize your health. Meal plan your weekday meals, schedule/make time for fitness and create time for relaxation — whether it’s luxuriating in a bath or setting a goal for weekly meditation.

This Spiral Chicken with Mashed Cauliflower and Cranberry Recipe is a healthy holiday favorite at Mountain Trek.

4. Plan Health and Wellness Themed Activities With Loved Ones

Think about ways you can spend time with loved ones that involve treating your body, mind, and spirit. Go on a long walk or hike with a friend instead of a boozy brunch, a yoga class and a steam at a local gym instead of happy hour, snowy winter walks after dinner with your spouse instead of Netflix, and more.

5. Develop A Strategy For Eating Out

It’s hard to stay on track while eating out! Check out our secrets for navigating restaurant menus. Our favorite tip: determine your simple carbohydrate priorities. Plan to pick either bread, dessert OR alcohol — this allows you to enjoy yourself without going overboard.


What is Mountain Trek?

Mountain Trek is the health reset you’ve been looking for. Our award-winning program, immersed in the lush nature of British Columbia will help you unplug, recharge, and roll back years of stress, anxiety, 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:

Why There’s No Caffeine At Mountain Trek

The short answer? The Mountain Trek program seeks to balance your hormones for optimal health. For most people, caffeine increases cortisol — and cortisol negatively impacts your metabolism.

Cortisol is the body’s primary stress hormone, and it operates inversely to DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) — the “youth” or “rejuvenating hormone.” DHEA builds muscle, burns calories, and lowers inflammation. Cortisol is released when the body perceives that it needs to be in flight-or-fight mode, which results in muscle loss, bone density loss, calorie storage, and chronic inflammation (the body uses its own muscle stores to be ready for extreme exertion and stores as many calories as possible to prepare for any possible famine or lack of readily available nutrients).

The Mountain Trek Program is designed specifically to rebalance these two crucial metabolic hormones in order to get your body into a state of growth metabolism (burning calories, building muscle) as opposed to decay metabolism (muscle loss, calorie storage). If your hormones aren’t balanced, you won’t be able to get deep sleep or achieve your ideal body composition of muscle-to-fat. Unbalanced hormones are one of the core reasons that people can’t seem to lose those last 5-10 pounds (or “muffin top”).

Most North Americans are experiencing long-term, heightened levels of cortisol: between high work stress, lack of vacation time, inadequate sleep, and many more daily stressors, our systems are entirely overloaded. That’s why we cut out caffeine at Mountain Trek — not because caffeine is evil or bad, but because it’s one quick way to immediately reduce cortisol.
Eliminating caffeine is just part of our induction, and helps rebalance and reset the body’s hormones. We certainly don’t expect people to remove caffeine from their lives altogether — but for our induction phase, it’s important for resetting hormones to their ideal balance. During the program, you’ll learn about the best and healthiest ways to incorporate caffeine into your regimen.

If you’re ready for the full experience, join us at our health, wellness and stress retreat — we’ve just announced rates and dates for 2019! Click here to plan your trip.

Our Secrets For Navigating Restaurant Menus

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If there’s one challenge to maintaining a well-balanced, nutritious diet, it’s eating out. Whether for work, travel or convenience, restaurant food is incredibly high in calories and can derail even the best of diets. Check out our tips for navigating restaurant menus so you can stay on track.

Before You Arrive At The Restaurant, Determine Your Simple Carb Priorities
Plan to pick either bread, dessert or alcohol. Limiting yourself to just one of these simple carb categories will allow you to enjoy yourself and indulge a bit without going overboard.

Skip The Pre-Dinner Drink — But Be Sure To Have A Full Glass Of Water
While enjoying a cocktail, beer or glass of wine before a meal is customary, alcohol lowers your willpower, and you’ll be much more likely to overindulge after a drink or two. If you’re going to have a drink, plan to have it with your meal.

Additionally, before you even look at the menu, make sure to drink a full glass of water. This allows you to approach the menu feeling a little bit satiated, rather than with a cavernous growling stomach. This limits the “eyes are bigger than the stomach” effect!

Ask The Server Not To Bring Any Bread
Restaurant bread baskets are almost impossible to resist, and full of totally empty calories. Avoid the temptation entirely and just as you sit down to the table, kindly ask your server not to bring a bread basket or any pre-meal snacks.

Order All Dressings On The Side
Ordering a salad? Ask for the dressing on the side so that you can better control the portion. Better yet, ask if your salad can be served with a side of oil and vinegar — it’ll cut out extraneous sugars that often lurk in dressings.

Split A Meal With Another Guest (Or Save Half For Lunch Tomorrow!)
Many (but not all) restaurant serving sizes are well beyond recommended portion sizes. Do your research before the meal, and if it seems like a restaurant has larger or oversized portions, consider splitting a meal with another guest — or boxing up half and saving it for the next day!

Keep Your Plate 75% Vegetables, 25% Lean Protein
Just like when you’re cooking for yourself, plan to keep your plate three-quarters veggies and one-quarter protein! At most restaurants, you’ll still be able to find some nutrient-packed options. Look for lean proteins like fish and poultry, greens and beans.

By preparing yourself with the tips above when you eat out, you’ll maintain a healthy balance and stay on track. Happy menu navigating!

4 Reasons Why Fad Diets Fail

sliced orange and cucumber with a glass of juice and juicer

At Mountain Trek, we’re used to hearing all about fad diets that people have experimented with — the Keto diet, the Mediterranean diet, paleo diet, military diet— and we don’t recommend any of them. The very definition of the verb “to diet” tells you exactly why this approach to achieve vitality fails: “to restrict oneself to small amounts of special kinds of food in order to lose weight.”

Dieting is often unsustainable, and fails for these 4 reasons:


Fad diets focus on one measure of health — weight.

Weight is an excellent indicator of health but is not the only one! This laser-focus on weight is a product of a culture that largely results in an unhelpful pattern of guilt and shame and isn’t focused on real wellness. Our take? Weight loss is a byproduct of a return to natural health — a lifestyle change featuring whole fruits, vegetables, and nutritious protein sources.

Fad diets erroneously focus on “miracle ingredients” or “Superfoods”.

These are simply marketing gimmicks. Humans were perfectly capable of whole health before diets that heavily feature reishi mushrooms, matcha, ashwagandha, and other trendy ingredients and supplements came on the scene! Rather than focus on one Superfood, focus on creating a “Super plate” that incorporates balance and a wide variety of seasonal ingredients.

Diets are often too restrictive, and unrealistic for long-term adoption.

Anything you can’t keep doing isn’t worth doing. That’s why we recommend a 5:2 system: Five days of a commitment to eating well, and two days to let yourself enjoy in moderation — whether it’s a scoop of your favorite ice cream or a drink (or two) of delicious, indulgent wine.

Diets often mimic famine.

Go too long without food, or with too little food, and the body stores calories because it doesn’t know when the next meal is. Smart snacking is important for the body’s metabolism! Small, nutrient-packed snacks keep your body burning energy.

A Better Approach to Nutrition

Long-term health and wellness are achievable, however, when you take a life-long, sustainable approach. Find a wellness approach you can commit to, if not for life, for the foreseeable future. Learn more about our approach to balanced nutrition.

 


What is Mountain Trek?

Mountain Trek is the health reset you’ve been looking for. Our award-winning health retreat, immersed in the lush nature of British Columbia and featuring daily sunrise yoga and night-time restorative yoga, will help you unplug, recharge, and roll back years of stress, anxiety, 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:

Thriving During The Holidays

How to stay healthy throughout the holidays.

How to stay healthy throughout the holidays.

The Key To Surviving The Holidays? Kindness.

The holidays can be a fraught time for health goals. With an influx of food, family, and oftentimes stress, many people feel overwhelmed and powerless to maintain a healthy balance.

At Mountain Trek’s fitness retreat and health spa, we spend all week detoxing from what the body, mind and spirit don’t need (caffeine, empty calories, technology, stressful environments), and instead spend all of our time feeding our souls: with hale and hearty meals, 4-5 hours of cleansing physical activity in the pristine mountain air, and deep, restful sleep.

This lifestyle isn’t realistic for many — and is especially difficult around the holiday season — and towards the end of the week at Mountain Trek’s health and wellness retreat, we discuss the journey of goal-setting and habit formation, and how to take elements of what we experience in the program and apply it to your busy daily lives. Our biggest piece of advice tends to surprise people: The only thing you must do every day to make a serious change: Practice self-kindness. Being compassionate and understanding with oneself is the cornerstone of success.

A treat now and then or missed week of exercise won’t kill you — but the quest for perfection might.

Perfect is a myth. Perfection is the enemy of progress. Aspire to live healthfully 5 days a week, and give yourself 2 days off. One thing we see time and time again: People (Americans, especially) focus on perfection: They want to exercise 7 days a week, to journal every single day, and to never have a drop of wine ever again! This is not the successful path to meaningful change — by setting yourself up for failure, you sabotage your goals.

Your ultimate obstruction isn’t calories or sedentarism: It’s negative self-talk.

Keeping your thoughts and actions self-supportive is crucial in any long-term health goal. Creating a daily practice of self-care is the cornerstone of success. Too often, one setback sets people into a tailspin of guilt and shame, and the memory of guilt and shame stops them from pursuing the initial goal. You must create space for yourself to fall off track. You must give yourself permission to be human.

Reward your intention to do your best — whether you fulfill the goals, or not.

Navigating our modern world — replete with foods bereft of nutrition, stressful city environments, at the total mercy of our devices — is the warrior’s path. It’s not easy, and there’s no button or quick solution. Kale isn’t the answer — neither is the newest workout fad or the most expensive blender money can buy. You must respect, love, and honor yourself before you can truly make everything we teach at Mountain Trek truly work.

If you’re ready to commit to change, ready to grow and deepen your relationship to yourself, your truth, and the breathtaking outdoors, click here to view rates and dates at Mountain Trek for 2018. Shepherding people back to their essential selves is our life’s work — come to our mountain lodge in Nelson, BC, and find out what the mountain has to offer.

Our Nutritionist’s Favorite Pre- and Post-Workout Snacks

a person tying up their running shoes

We know how critical what we eat is in energy management: Making sure to plan snacks well will make sure you’re properly fueling your body and optimizing your nutrient intake! One of the questions we most often hear is when and how to snack, especially before and after workouts. Our head of nutrition, Jennifer Keirstead, offers some tips below for making the most of your workouts with strategically timed snacking.

Related Article: Top 5 On The Go Snacks

Pre-Workout: Fruit + Protein Source

Says Jenn:Pairing a piece of fruit with a protein source is a fantastic pre-work snack. The sugars in the fruits act as a quick energy source, and since protein digests a little slower, combining these two helps stabilize blood sugar levels — this supports longing lasting energy (for example, an apple with almonds). Or try a homemade Coconut Apricot Bliss Ball!

Do your best to consume a small snack within an hour pre-workout — this way you’ll be sure to have quick energy available to burn.”

Post-Workout: Fruit or Vegetable + Protein Source

Post-workout snack is similar to the pre-work snack. Either a fruit or veggie, paired with a source of protein. An excellent example would be a sugar snap peas with a hard-boiled egg.

A smoothie is another great option for post-workout — try mixed berries with cashew butter. Eating every 3-4 hours will support energy not just for exercise, but for sustaining energy levels throughout the day.” Click here to learn more about our approach to nutrition.


What is Mountain Trek?

Mountain Trek is the health reset you’ve been looking for. Our award-winning health retreat, immersed in the lush nature of British Columbia, will help you detox, 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:

Dr. Josh on How To Eat Smarter & Lose Weight

how-to-eat-smarter-1

Mountain Trek recently started offering Lifestyle Performance Coaching via clinical physcologist Dr. Joshua Klapow, who's also an alumni of the program. It seems the good doctor is also adept at explaining matters of nutrition as well given an article that has appeared on beachbody.com. In it, Dr. Josh is asked to explain how to eat smarter through "mindful eating" (also known as "intuitive eating") and how it can influence your body shape.

In the article called "9 Mindfulness Tips For Losing Weight," Dr. Josh compares mindful eating to mindful existence: “It’s not unlike taking a minute to look at a flower or experience being in nature,” he says. “We can either rush through it with a passing appreciation, or we can spend several minutes and take the entire environment into our senses. Mindful eating is the exact same thing.” He goes on to explain that "By itself, mindful eating is not a weight-loss cure, but as part of an approach or tool it can catapult healthy eating and weight loss.

By being conscientious when you consume foods, you limit distractions, choose healthier options and become more in tune with your body. Here are the nine mindfulness tricks to help you eat smarter, be conscious of what you eat and, ultimately, make better decisions that will help you lose weight. 

  1. Pause before you eat to ask yourself why you're eating
  2. Chew each bite thoroughly and savour it
  3. Drink water before meals
  4. Eat vibrant, flavourful foods
  5. Eat without distractions
  6. Wait before getting seconds
  7. When you feel the urge to snack, make a cup of tea first
  8. Take note of your cravings
  9. Eat with joy, not judgement

All of these tips will help you take more pleasure in your food and to read more about Dr. Josh's take on "mindful eating," log on to beachbody.com.

For an even more well-rounded culinary experience, book a stay at Mountain Trek Fitness Retreat and Health Spa to enjoy the delicious spa cuisine prepared by our master chef Bonnie VanTassel. She's renowned for creating healthy, farm-fresh food that you can't help but savour. Book your stay at Mountain Trek now.

Heavenly Orbs Recipe

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The name says it all. Nut butter anchors the lightness of coconut, orange and apricot in this delicious snack. This Heavenly Orbs recipe is definitely one that belongs in our Hall of Fame. Makes 8 or 9 orbs.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup almond butter
  • 1/8 cup hemp seed butter
  • 1/8 tsp cardamom
  • 1 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/3 cup coconut
  • orange juice to moisten
  • 1/8 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 tsp powdered ginger
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • zest of a small orange

Method

  1. Chop nuts and apricots together finely in a food processor
  2. Add butters and remaining ingredients
  3. Form into balls and refigerate or freeze

To find more Mountain Trek recipes, and to get the shopping list for this recipe, download our Health Guide in Your Pocket App now.

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