Weight Loss

Weight Loss is one of the foundations of improving your health and wellbeing. Being overweight is the number one cause of many of today’s diseases.

What is Intermittent Fasting and How to Do it Right


looking at wrist watch in nature

At Mountain Trek, we hear a lot of guests say they’re “intermittent fasting.” To some, this means skipping breakfast; to others, this means eating just dinner. Which is right? Which is wrong? Mountain Trek also practices intermittent fasting (IF) and has developed a specific method over the past 20 years proven to help guests ignite their metabolism. Here, our Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Jenn Keirstead, gives us the scoop on Mountain Trek’s approach to IF:


What is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent Fasting has become the latest health fad that allegedly assists with weight loss. It has even ranked as the “trendiest” weight loss search of 2019. The dietary term is used to describe the cycle between periods of fasting and eating.

Experts say: it’s not all hype. In fact, many agree that the diet can be helpful in boosting longevity, maintaining blood sugar levels, and reaching a healthy weight.

Not surprisingly, given the popularity, several different types or methods of IF have been established. Explained below, are a few of the most popular methods:

Time-restricted eating: Fast for 16+ hours each day

This method involves fasting every day 16+ hours and restricting your daily “eating window” to 8 hours. For example, if you finish your last meal at 8 p.m. and don’t eat until noon the next day, you’re technically fasting for 16 hours.

The 5:2 diet: Fast for 2 days per week

For one to two nonconsecutive days per week, you consume just water plus 500 calories, (200 of which are protein), either in one meal or spread out over the day. The other five or six days a week, you can eat whatever you want, whenever you want.

Alternate-day fasting: Fast every other day

For the first 24 hours, you consume just water plus 500 calories, (200 of which are protein), either in one meal or spread out over the day. For the second 24 hours, you can eat whatever you want, whenever you want. Repeat the cycle every two days.

After reading about a trend, I always like to ask myself: is this diet restrictive in any way, and is it sustainable long term? These are always good points to ponder before you find yourself in yet another diet + binge cycle.

Also, a word of caution from Dr. Frank Hu, chair of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. Hu explains: “It’s human nature for people to want to reward themselves after doing very hard work, such as exercise or fasting for a long period of time; so there is a danger of indulging in unhealthy dietary habits on non-fasting days. In addition, there’s a strong biological push to overeat following fasting periods. Your appetite hormones and hunger center in your brain go into overdrive when you are deprived of food. He also comments, “Part of the fascination with IF arises from research with animals showing that fasting may reduce cancer risk and slow aging. One hypothesis is that fasting can activate cellular mechanisms that help boost immune function and reduce inflammation associated with chronic disease.”

How to do Intermittent Fasting correctly

Here at Mountain Trek, we too have our opinions about the structured fasting and eating cycles. Program Director, Kirkland Shave, describes our version as a, “12 on, 12 off.” He explains how, “The Mountain Trek program, where we take a 12-hour break without food (glucose) at night, aids in deeper sleep, less calorie storage, less LDL cholesterol production, and lowering the potential for Insulin Resistance (precursor to type 2 diabetes).” We also believe that fasting is beneficial in supporting the anti-inflammatory response of cellular autophagy (self-eating). According to Priya Khorana, PhD, in nutrition education from Columbia University, this is the body’s way of, “Cleaning out damaged cells, in order to regenerate newer, healthier cells.” Autophagy occurs when sleeping—another reason to fast at night.

The idea of eating during the day makes sense to us. This is because you’re eating when your body and brain are most active. This way you consume your calories when your body needs them the most. You are literally fueling your metabolic engine as it needs energy, rather than operating on a full tank all the time. When done correctly, with proper portions and timing, this means your engine will be running as clean and efficient as possible. No build-up, no excess.

We support a daily 12-hour fast, for our reasons above—we’ve just restructured the guidelines, to encourage a more healthful, sustainable, and practical approach.

Break your fast first thing in the morning

Let’s begin by “breaking the fast.” Once you’re up and ready to roll, consider breaking your fast with food. Real food first please, not coffee! Ideally, this happens within 30 minutes of rising.

There are options here. If you’re the exercise-before-work type, you can grab a quick snack consisting of a fruit/veggie, with a protein. Some examples include: apple + seeds, carrots + nut butter, or a 5 oz smoothie made from frozen berries, spinach, banana + hemp hearts. This amount of nutrition is enough to boost your anabolic metabolism by supporting the steroids that stimulate protein synthesis, muscle growth, and insulin production.

You can also break your fast with actual breakfast. Fantastic examples include: a veggie omelette with sprouted, whole grain bread, or a bowl of oatmeal with berries and seeds.

Eat every 3-4 hours for 12 hours

We suggest that you continue on throughout your day with both lunch and dinner, including 1 snack in between each meal. This means you’re eating every 3 – 4 hours during the waking hours, which will continue to support blood sugar levels, leaving you more satiated and energized.

If you intend to adhere to the 12 hour fasting window, dinner is required to be an earlier meal. This may take the most planning. To enjoy dinner at a more reasonable hour, you may want to try batch cooking on the weekends, a crock-pot meal, or one of the many convenient, health-supporting Apps, in which you can pre-order food right to your door. Do whatever it takes to make having an earlier dinner easier!

Fast for 12 hours overnight

That brings you to your “12 hour nighttime break without food.” This might feel challenging at first, as many of us are accustomed to late-night eating and snacking. Many people find themselves mindlessly eating late at night, even when they aren’t hungry.

Something to consider is that nighttime eating may be the result of an overly restricted daytime food intake, leading to ravenous hunger at night. You may find that more consistent eating throughout the day helps curb the out-of-control feeling around food in the evening—ideally you will leave at least 3-4 hours to digest before going to sleep. Speaking of sleep you may notice your sleep improves, as you’ll get to truly rest, instead of digest. Learn more about our sleep program.

Another bonus of IF and eating dinner earlier: after 12 hours food-free, you’re actually hungry when you wake up! This helps make the breaking-the-fast upon rising a breeze.

To learn more about proper nutrition and living a healthy, balanced life, read more of our articles or join us for a week-long health-immersion at our retreat. More below.

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:

Our Secrets For Navigating Restaurant Menus


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!

More Than Just A Wellness Retreat: What Alumni Truly Take Away From Their Visit

Mountain Trek hikers


There’s a reason why we call guests “alumni” — Mountain Trek guests tend to want to return to our fitness retreat, and many are even 4-, 5-, or 6-time guests. While most people come to Mountain Trek for a well-deserved retreat, to refocus on a fitness journey, or to lose weight, most people take away something even deeper, sometimes even spiritual.

Immersion in the pristine, invigorating forests, breathtaking mountains, and idyllic alpine meadows is indescribably therapeutic. However, there’s no need to rely on our word for it — Read on for excerpts from Mountain Trek’s (glowing) reviews of their stay at our award-winning health spa. 

The Gift of Lifelong Vitality


“Doing something can change your life. Mountain Trek does change your life.”


The people behind Mountain Trek are amazing and truly inspirational, the lectures by Kirkland, Cathy and Jen will stay with me for a long time. Things we forgot about nature, nutrition, society, life. I had an amazing time and feel so much better after attending the retreat, I am also really inspired and have learnt so many new things I want to incorporate in my life to make myself healthier and better.

Making Real Changes For The Better


“Body, mind and spirit leave functioning at a higher capacity than you might ever expect possible. I returned home strong, healthy and ‘alive’ again. Something is missing and you don't know what it is…. Go find out on the most beautiful trails, in the most capable hands.”


"Mountain Trek is a journey that teaches you a lot about who you are as a person. It is not an easy trek but nothing in life worth doing is easy. The staff's insights, knowledge, and passion is second to none. The real-time community that you build with other trekkers makes the daily challenge fun and achievable."


“They helped me changed my state of mind, which is where it all starts. Practical and sustainable. I am thrilled I invested the time and money in myself — I feel a shift in myself and it feels good.”

Restoring Confidence + Reclaiming Your Life


“Thank you, Mountain Trek. You have given me back 3 years of my life, restored my confidence, and helped me find my way again. This is debt that can never be repaid, so I will just have to come back again next summer to show you how much the experience has enhanced my life.”


"Mountain Trek is amazing in so many ways: the staff, the facilities, the views! The most amazing thing MT did for me was to show me that I am strong and there's nothing I can't tackle with a little sweat, support and one tiny step at a time."


“Our last hike was nearly five hours long and I really thought it would break me. But as I realized we were near the trail end where we started, I powered through the fatigue, walking tall and strong. I have NEVER been more proud of myself. And that, my friend, is something everyone needs to experience. We are capable of so much more than we realize.”

Learning How To Healthfully Navigate The World


“Kirk and his team are knowledgeable, well trained, and fun to be with. Mountain Trek does a great job of teaching you simple steps to a healthier way of life. I've integrated several changes to my life and have seen the results last.”

Amy, Toronto:

“What you learn stays with you; simple tips you can take home and easily add to your routine. Eight months on and I still use lessons learned from the amazing cast of characters at Mountain Trek just about every day. And just so you know, I'm a naysayer by nature.

Mountain Trek isn’t just a place, or a retreat, or a distinct group of people: It’s a philosophy, a set of tools for reclaiming vitality in a world full of difficult choices, a retreat, a return to nature, and a return to the self. Eager to experience your own “aha” moment, and take a well-earned break? Ready to commit to lifelong vitality? Read more about the daily schedule at Mountain Trek, and book your trip today.


Dr. Josh on How To Eat Smarter & Lose Weight


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.

Yoga For Weight Loss

Yoga Instructor Sage Leboutan

Sage Leboutan is the on-site kinesiologist at Mountain Trek as well as a yoga instructor and guide.

One of the best features of the Mountain Trek Lodge in British Columbia is the beautiful, large yoga studio with a wall of windows that look out over Kootenay lake and the Purcell mountain range. It’s easy to spend time in that room yet many guests ask us why it is we do gentle yoga every morning before we head out hiking for the day. There are three main reasons for this:

  1. Yoga limbers up our bodies and gets them ready for a day’s worth of outdoor activity.
  2. When combined with intentional breathing, yoga helps to calm the mind and allows you to start the day with intention: it’s easy to put your work and home cares aside and just concentrate on you.
  3. And finally, we do yoga for weight loss.

Yes, that last one’s correct. Yoga actually helps with your weight loss program. This may surprise many people because yoga is such a gentle, slow, methodical experience and it’s not as obvious a fat flush activity as Cathy’s evening cardio fitness regime. Yet yoga for weight loss is a key component of the Mountain Trek program because it’s integral to moving your body and boosting your metabolism.

Who does yoga?

Yoga For Weight Loss – How Does It Work?

Metabolism is the rate at which your body uses energy and burns calories. You can learn more about it in our blog post about metabolism but, in short, it describes the process of serving our body’s energy needs – if we’re expending a lot of energy (high metabolism) then we’re burning up the calories we’re consuming. And, in the case of Mountain Trek’s program, we’re rebooting the body’s metabolism and not only burning calories consumed each day, but also energy stored in our fat cells.

In other words, by waking up and doing a 45-minute gentle yoga session, we’re getting our bodies to move immediately and boosting our metabolism so that we start burning calories. We then maintain that movement throughout the day so that by the end of your stay at Mountain Trek, your metabolism is functioning at a higher level and you’re burning more calories on a daily basis.

To tell us more about yoga for weight loss and, specifically about Mountain Trek’s yoga program, we spoke with Sage Leboutan who is our resident kinesiologist as well as a yoga instructor and guide. She grew up in the West Kootenay region of British Columbia (where Mountain Trek’s lodge resides) and, in between getting her Degree of Kinesiology from UBC in Vancouver, she taught yoga in Central and South America.

Mountain Trek Yoga Instructor Sage

Thanks for taking the time to speak with us Sage. How long have you been doing yoga and why did you get into it?

I have been practicing yoga for 8 years, originally I started in my first year of university for stress and weight management. It was my 1.5 hours / day I used to unwind and connect to myself.

Is yoga for everyone?

Can anyone do yoga?

Yes, definitely anyone can do yoga regardless of shape, size or experience level. What’s most important is an open mind and willingness to try.
Nowadays there are so many different styles of yoga to choose from; including chair yoga which is suitable for people with reduced mobility or suffering from injury.

Yoga at the Mountain Trek Lodge in British Columbia

What type of yoga is offered at Mountain Trek?

At Mountain Trek we offer ‘Hatha’ yoga. The sequence is designed to specifically target sore, tight muscles from all the hiking we do everyday. It begins with gentle stretches lying or sitting on the mat and gradually builds. Guests find themselves in standing positions part way through the class and then it finishes with a cool down gentle stretch and a “savasana” – lying on your back, breathing deeply and letting all your muscles relax.


5 Ways Alcohol Hinders Weight Loss

Alcohol Hinders Weight Loss

No single food item affects humans in so many varying and differing ways than alcohol. How it affects you specifically depends on genetics, diet, gender, potential ‘sensitivity’ to it and your habits.

While enrolled in the Mountain Trek program, we ensure our guests avoid alcohol to help with detoxification and weight loss. That’s not to say we recommend completely avoiding alcohol altogether, we just believe it’s important to get to know it’s impact on your body in order to make good decisions about when you do decide to have a drink.

To that end, below are five ways alcohol hinders weight loss. And if you’re interested in taking a break from booze this Thanksgiving Holiday season, then be sure to join us at Rancho la Puerta in Baja, Mexico where we’ll ply you with delicious food, sunshine and a proven-exercise regime that is guaranteed to help you lose weight.

1. All Alcohol Is Full of Calories

At seven calories per gram, alcohol supplies almost twice as many as protein and carbohydrates. In fact, alcohol has only two fewer calories than fat, which has nine per gram. It must also be remembered that the calories in alcohol lack the nutrients beneficial for a healthy metabolism and will therefore hasten fat storage.

The calories found in the average alcoholic drink are quite concentrated compared to many foods, and this actually causes one to inadvertently take in many more calories than would otherwise be consumed. Alcoholic drinks also contain calories from other sources, which add to overall caloric intake. Certain cocktails, for example, contain fats. Wine and beer both have high carbohydrate content. Although the affects these various calorie types have on the body are different – carbohydrates release insulin, which can hasten fat storage (unless we are active after imbibing), while fats will be stored directly in the fat cells – the overall result is added body fat.

An example of how many calories can be easily consumed can be seen with a small glass of wine: a 5-ounce glass of wine will typically contain 110 calories, 91 of which come from the alcohol itself (13 grams), with the remaining five grams coming from carbohydrates.
Beer contains more carbohydrates (except for “Lite” beers, which have a carb content similar to a glass of wine) and less alcohol than wine, but is seen as being more fattening, due to its higher energy content.

2. Alcohol Loosens The Inhibitions

While drinking, people usually will not stop to consider the impact alcohol is having on their bodies; such is alcohol’s affect on loosening the inhibitions. The result of this relaxed thinking could mean more (food) calories consumed and extra body fat gains. Those drinking might also eat more of the wrong kinds of food, without thinking of the consequences. (See #3.)

3. Alcohol Increases Appetite

Alcohol can increase appetite, making the combination of alcohol and a fattening meal all the more worse. In fact, a hormone linked to increased hunger, particularly hunger for high-fat foods, has been linked to cravings for alcohol. According to Medical News Today, a study conducted at Princeton University showed that the hunger-increasing hormone, known as gelanin, is produced when alcohol is consumed. Though the effect of increased gelanin on appetite and eating behaviors varies amongst individuals, there’s a good chance your consumption of alcohol increases your desire for high-fat foods. (ghelin?)

4. Alcohol Can Damage The Stomach, Lessening Its Efficiency

Given alcohol is a by-product of yeast digestion; it can have an irritating effect on the lining of the stomach and gradually weaken the kidneys and liver, leading to serious health problems. Any weakening of the stomach will lessen the rate and efficiency at which food is digested, which ultimately interferes with a healthy metabolism and the weight loss process.

5. Alcohol Lowers Testosterone

Testosterone, which has a powerful fat loss effect, is reduced whenever alcohol is consumed, thus halting its full potential as a fat burner. Also, testosterone as an anabolic hormone, contributes to gains in lean muscle mass. Lowered testosterone means fewer muscle gains, and less muscle means a lowered metabolic rate.


9 Ways to Get Beach Ready & Cure the “Muffin Top”


Now is the time of year when many of us look in the mirror and wonder where our beach bodies went over the course of the winter. The fact is a number of factors combined with a more sedentary lifestyle during the winter months can lead to the dreaded “muffin top” in which our body spills out over our bathing suits. Thankfully there are some easy steps to follow that will help you lose weight, keep fit and look great in that swim suit. Below are a nine tips for curing the muffin top.


Walk 10,000 steps a day, take the stairs or join a gym.


Take two 1-minute breaks in the work day to close eyes and breathe deeply.


Test for food sensitivities.


Power down electronics 1 hour before bed and remove all electronics from bedroom.


Reduce alcohol consumption to 1-2 days per week.


Minimize use of Soy, plastic food wrappers, pesticides, and petrochemical cosmetics.


Infrared Sauna 1-2 times per week at Day Spa or Health Club to release toxins.


Chew food to liquid state and add Probiotics to build intestinal flora.


Switch to low Carb/high Protein and Fibre rich diet.


10 “Non-Diet” Weight Loss Tips and Simple Holiday Detox Ideas

[wps_social_buttons] Non-diet Approach

The “Non-Diet” Approach to Weight Loss

Mountain Trek does not subscribe to any diet plan and in fact, we don’t believe in the concept of dieting at all, and yet we guarantee those who participate in our program will lose weight. And they always do. Why is that? Well among other things we make sure everyone who attends Mountain Trek, whether it’s at the British Columbia Lodge or our Rancho La Puerta programs workout their bodies for portions of the day but there’s more to it than that. Our guests always compliment us on the quality of the food (for proof look at our TripAdvisor comments) and very few have ever said they’ve gone hungry during the program. So what’s the secret?

Have you ever stopped to wonder why there are so many fad diets out there? The fact is, none of them work, certainly not for any length of time anyway. And don’t even get us started on trendy weight loss pills and claims of slimness in a bottle or with one type of exercise device sold on late-night TV. So many of us binge and then starve our bodies only to repeat the cycle that it’s no wonder we have trouble maintain a healthy consistent weight. Problems such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease are all a result of improper eating practices combined with lack of physical activity for which our bodies were designed for.

At Mountain Trek we’re not interested in short-term efforts for losing weight but rather we want to encourage a long-term lifestyle change for lasting health. A large part of it rests on the nutritional pillar of our program, which isn’t so much based on counting calories as it is about encouraging healthful eating patterns and nutrition. We focus on balancing blood sugars and the hormones Insulin, Glucagon, Leptin and Grehlin, in order to raise and maintain an Anabolic metabolism. Which is just one way of saying, we teach you about healthy eating habits that transform your health. Our guests learn how to “diet” without actually going on a diet and these are just a few of the tips they take home with them after a stay at Mountain Trek along with the support-structure and strategies for turning them into long-term habits.

#1. Eat Breakfast within 30 minutes of getting out of bed

Healthy Breakfast

#2. Eat two-thirds of your food in the first 9 hours of the day

Steaming Bowl of Soup

#3. Eat multiple food groups every 3 hours during the day

Fruit & Nuts

#4. Eat slower and chew more

Eat slower, chew more.

#5. Eat out at restaurants less

Eat out at restaurants less

#6. Lower your intake of alcohol

Drink less alchohol

#7. Eliminate or minimize artificial sweeteners

Try Natural Sweeteners

#8. Detoxify your body regularly (see below)


#9. Eat less processed food and more organic produce

Fresh, local and organic produce.

#10. Drink more water

Drink more water


Detox Your Body This Month

If you read our tips for relieving holiday stress in last-month’s newsletter and then attended Mountain Trek’s Winter Program, chances are you’re feeling fit, healthy and happy. However, if you’re like most of us, you indulged a bit during the holiday season and are now looking to get back on track. Well, aside from the weight loss pointers mentioned above, there’s one other key thing you can do in order to encourage wellness and lose a few of those extra pounds that might have crept on what with all the holiday chocolates lying around. And the good news is that one thing is relatively easy to do.

Detoxification has been a tradition among most cultures on earth for centuries: from Scandinavian saunas to American sweat lodges mankind has understood the value of purging toxins through the skin. Essentially, the term refers to the process of removing injurious substances from our bodies, which can be biological (such as bacteria and viruses) or harmful chemicals like heavy metals, food processing compounds and cosmetics. (Nowadays processed foods contain more than 3,000 chemicals whereas at the turn of the century, the only preservative found in food was salt.) These toxins are continuously being flushed from our body through breath, sweat, urine, etc but problems arise if we can’t detoxify fast enough. What happens when we don’t purge these toxins quickly, our fat cells will get larger so the body can store the excess toxins and keep them safely away from sensitive tissue.  When the toxins are more concentrated, our fat cells will also increase in size to keep them diluted.

In other words, detoxing is not only good for riding the body of bad biology and chemicals, it’s also a good way to ensure your body doesn’t start harbouring fat cells. Here are just a few easy actions you can take to support your body in detoxifying:

  • Drink enough water throughout the day so that your urine is almost clear. This will help support your kidney’s removal of water-soluble toxins.
  • Utilize exercise, saunas and steams to aid the release of stored toxins.
  • Dry brushing your skin is another good way to encourage blood circulation, cell regeneration and toxin removal.
  • Eat fibre-rich foods to aid your intestines in moving toxins out of the body.  Constipation leads to toxin re-absorption.
  • Eat organic, pesticide-free produce, and less processed food.

Bonus: Detoxification Talk By Kirkland!

Salmon Fennel Leek Chowder Recipe

Salmon Fennel Chowder Recipe

This recipe will fill the emptiest of bellies and warm the coldest bodies. It’s intended to make a large portion so you can share it with friends or store it in the freezer for enjoying it later but if you’d prefer to make less, just halve the ingredient amounts.


  • 1⁄4 cup coconut oil
  • 4 cups finely diced onion
  • 4 cups finely diced carrots
  • 4 cups finely diced celery

Sauté above ingredients until they start to brown lightly then add:

  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 16 cups veggie stock
  • 2 cups finely diced parsnips
  • 4 cups sweet potato diced
  • 2 cups diced fennel
  • 2 cups leeks
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp. thyme
  • 3 tsp. salt (to taste)
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer and add:

  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 – 2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 3 salmon filets – deboned, cooked and flaked
  •  2 cans coconut milk
  • Almond/coconut flour to thicken as required

Cold Weather Must-Haves

Winter is fully upon us now and for most of us, we’re experiencing shorter days, colder temperatures and an aversion to going outside. It’s only natural to feel a bit more lethargic this time of year; in fact, our ancestors spent the winter months immersed in cultural activities rather than hunting and gathering. However, with the plethora of processed snacking foods within arm’s reach, it’s important to surround ourselves with “must-haves” that promote health and well-being. Here are just five things that we encourage to have near you at all times in order to weather the colder months and encourage wellness.

Ginger Lemon Tonic

#1. Ginger Lemon Tea

Enjoy a detoxifying and energizing ginger lemon tea every morning. There’s a reason ginger is called “the miracle root” – in fact, it’s one of nature’s best combinations of detoxifier, anti-inflammatory and digestive aid. You can read more about the tea and how to make it here. Plus it’s just nice to start your day with something warm.

Good Duvet

#2. A Good Duvet

Sleep is so important any time of year but in the winter months when the temperature drops at night it’s important we’re comfortable. That doesn’t mean cranking up the thermostat, however, as most of us are not attuned to sleeping well in the heat. Keep the inside temperature of your house cool at night but cozy up under a good duvet or thick blankets and you’ll sleep more soundly.

Warm & Hearty Recipes

#3. Warm, Hearty Recipes

There are many recipes on the Mountain Trek site for healthy and hearty soups and chili. They are made with vitality-nurturing nutritious ingredients and their warming qualities will dispel the day’s chill. A few we recommend are Bison Chipotle Chili and Squash & Turkey Soup.

A Hot Bath

#4. A Hot Bath

Lying in a warm bath filled with epsom salts is not only relaxing, it’s also a good way to detoxify. It’ll help remove any damp chill that has seeped into your bones and it will open up your pores and encourage toxins to exit your body. If you don’t have a bathtub, a hot shower is an OK replacement but a visit to the local gym for a soak in their hot tub is even better.

Layered Clothing

#5. Layered Clothing

A good quality pair of merino wool long underwear and a long-sleeved top is invaluable at warding off any winter chill when you’re out in the elements. Even if you’re just going for a walk to the corner store, remember to layer and dress appropriately as it doesn’t take long for the chill to sink in and when it does, it can take awhile to disperse it again.

Bonus: A Sun-Filled Getaway!

What better way to beat the winter cold than by escaping entirely and heading to sunny Baja, Mexico for Mountain Trek’s Rancho La Puerta program. Watch the video below and Kirkland will explain the highlights of the program and why it’s an excellent mid-winter vacation option.

Your Metabolism: How to make it work for you to get fit and lose weight

Metabolism: Make it work for you.Last week, inspired by the controversy surrounding the latest winner of the reality TV show, ‘The Biggest Loser’, we had a look at healthy weight loss and what it means to shed the pounds in a sustainable, healthy way. In the weight loss world, we often hear of metabolism, how it affects our bodies and our weight, and how we can give it a ‘boost’. But what exactly is metabolism? How does it work, and how can we make it work for us when getting fit and losing weight?

Metabolism is the rate at which your body uses energy, or, burns calories. It is an endless, two-part cycle of anabolism (when energy is created and stored) and catabolism (when energy is used or released). This process is directly dependent on our endocrine system, or hormones. Simply put, if our hormones are at all out of balance, then so too will be our metabolism, meaning the rate at which our body uses calories is not optimized.

In addition to considering our hormonal balance (which controls a lot more in our bodies than just our metabolism; like cell and tissue growth, mood regulation, etc.), there are other key factors to consider when considering our weight. Although metabolism does have the major role of serving our body’s energy needs, our weight is based predominantly on calories consumed and physical activity. If you consume more ‘energy’ than you expend, you will hang on to some of that energy in the form of excess weight. Keeping this in mind, and supposing we are doing our best to output more energy (exercise) than we are inputting (calories), what can we do make sure that the calorie-burning going on inside of us is optimized? How can we make sure our metabolism is running at its very best?

Eat regularly, and consume 2/3 of your calories in the first 9 hours of your day. If you skip meals or intensely reduce calories, your body’s metabolism slows way down, and your body hangs onto those calories to fuel basic functions.
Strength training: More muscles = faster metabolism! Muscle burns calories more efficiently than fat; the more muscle you have in relation to your body fat, the higher your metabolism will be. So integrate the weights or resistance training.
Good nights: Lack of sleep over a prolonged period (‘sleep debt’) can seriously alter our hormonal balance, which in turn can negatively affect our metabolism. Aiming to get 7-8 hours of truly restful sleep will promote hormonal balance, along with all the other benefits of getting a good night’s rest!
Stress: Cortisol, the stress hormone, can wreak havoc on our hormonal balance when our stress is not kept in check. Engaging regularly in relaxing activities like massage, meditation, walking in nature, even simple deep breathing, will not only help your state of mind, but your hormonal balance as well.

Keep in mind too that our metabolism, like many aspects of aging, slows down, which helps to explain why many people in their 40s and 50s notice that they are unable to lose weight like they were in years past. To maintain weight as we age, we need fewer calories than we did as spring chickens.

In addition to these tips, Dr. Edward Geehr, M.D. and writer for Lifescript.com, has summarized all the tips he learned at Mountain Trek on how to boost your metabolism. And of course, there is always the option of trying all these tips for yourself, in a metabolism reboot at Mountain Trek!

No matter what our age, exercise (both aerobic and strength training), nutrition, and engaging in healthy hormone balancing habits are the keys to losing weight, feeling fit and living with vitality!