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How to Enjoy the Sun Safely : 5 Unusual Tips

How to Enjoy the Sun Safely : 5 Unusual Tips

I love the sun!  I love it so much that I crave it, which is why I felt so inspired to write an article on how to enjoy the sun safely.

I feel invigorated, energized and willing to conquer the world when there are sun and heat. In fact, studies have demonstrated that the level of serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible to make us feel happy, is higher when we are in the sun.

I have no shame in saying that I love to be in the sun. As a matter of fact, I love to sun bath. Do I use sunscreen lotion when I sunbath? You’ll find out reading this post…

Although a well-known brand of commercial sunscreen, one with a very particular smell, Hawaiian Tropic to no call out the name,  has me remembering my blissful childhood vacation at Old Orchard Beach, today i  refuse to have it even touch my skin. 

How to Enjoy the Sun Naturally: 5 Ways to Manage Your Sun Exposure

How to enjoy the sun naturally

Tip#1 Be sensible

Manage your direct exposure to the sun. Really when you take a minute and think about it we were never meant to lay in the direct sun, without moving for hours on end.

So yes to sunbathing but not for hours in full sun exposure. 

Select a location where you can go in the direct sun but also go in the shade. Too much of anything is never a good thing.

Tip #2 Build a tolerance

You skin needs to build what some like to call a base tan. Start with a few minutes the first day and slowly increase the exposure time. When you move out of the sun,  cover your skin with clothing to prevent further exposure.

You should never “burn”. If you do, then you have been over-exposed to the sun.

Tip #3 Unprotected skin is needed 

To increase your level of vitamin D, it is best to expose your skin to the mid-day sun. This is when the UV rays are most abundant, as well as UVB.

UVB is the type of sunrays required to produce vitamin D. Using sunscreen will prevent the UVB from penetrating your skin thus prevent vitamin D formation in your body.  To know more about vitamin D click here to read an article I wrote on Vitamin D supplementation.

Short exposure to the sun (10-15 minutes) daily with unprotected skin is necessary to promote the manufacturing of vitamin D in your body. The best time to expose your skin and have the maximum impact on production of vitamin D is between 10 am – 2 pm (sun peak time). Expose as much skin as possible to the sun.

Tip #4 Eat to prevent sun damage

This is perhaps among the best tips I can give you on how to enjoy the sun naturally. Nutrition.

Ensure that you are getting plenty of omega 3’s, such as eggs, wild caught salmon, sardines, and flax seeds during the day.

Load up in phytonutrients which are a type of antioxidant that helps you neutralize any negative effects of the sun. Phytonutrients are present in green vegetables too. Eat your daily “Big Ass” salad with lots of tomatoes that contain lycopene which offers photo-protection.

Don’t forget to eat a couple squares of 85% dark chocolate that contains flavanols to help protect you from potential damage from UV rays.

Snack on berries as they are particularly high in antioxidants called elegiac acid will help prevent skin collagen destruction and help prevent skin damage.

Get your daily dose of collagen. Either you drink your daily cup of bone broth, or add your 1-2 tbsp. of collagen supplements.

Add a specific antioxidant supplement such as high quality vitamin E (between 400 – 500 mg of mixed tocopherol daily). Increasing your daily dose of vitamin C could be an option as well.

Tip #5 Safe sunscreen

My favorite sunscreen is actually this one from Beauty Counter.  I carry the face stick in my bag when I know I might be exposed to the sun for a long period of time.

When I go to the beach I use this one. Beautycounter sunscreen products are made from non-nano sized particles of zinc oxide. Mineral based sunscreen is safer to use than traditional chemical-based sunscreen formula which contains oxybenzone which is associated with cancer risk.

You can make your own sunscreen at home by following either this recipe from Wellness Mama or this one from Mommypotamus.

All in all: The sun is not our enemy…the sun is essential to our life! There is a reason why we love the sun – it makes us happy and healthy. Enjoy it!

Question: What do you use to sunbath? Share your favorite product and let me know what you think of the recipes.


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My 7 essential kitchen tools

My 7 essential kitchen tools

kitchen essential tools

As the ladies in my private and free community experience, the right kitchen tools are essentials to make this way of living simple and easy.

Tired to have to read labels or worrying about which ingredients are good for you and which ones are bad, or how much sodium or sugar you get in that food… all of it will disappear when you start eating real food.

The hardest part about making a change to living a real food is knowing where to start. Real Food on a plate comes from a real food kitchen that is equipped with real food kitchen tools that you use to prepare real food recipes. I know it’s redundant – I’m just driving a point!

To make food easier to prepare, we need to be slightly better equipped than a kitchen in which we eat processed food – for example in a box or a bagged food put in the microwave for the next meal. In most cases, it means you need to get rid of some un-real kitchen tools and dust off some of those cooking appliances that you got for Christmas, used twice and then shoved in the back of your kitchen cabinets and drawers.

Kitchen essential tools

I will introduce you to my 7 essential Real Food kitchen tools that will make cooking easy, simple and quick to ensure you get variety in the way your food is prepared.

I would have loved somebody to walk me through this when I first started creating my own REAL FOOD LIFE.

Pots and sauce pans

1-6.5 QT Stainless Steel Stock pots & 1-2 Quart Saucepan &  10″  Skillet. Cast iron is the healthiest style of frying pan available but stainless steel is the second best choice.

The non-stick type (read here T-Fal or Teflon) version of pots kitchen essential toolsand pans shouldn’t be the target… these were created for low-fat cooking and are not in any way healthy. They leak “chemicals” into our food so we absorb these “chemicals”.


Cast Iron style pans last for 100 years, add iron to our food, and make our Real Food recipes taste great because they hold the flavors! Plus, cast iron pots and pans can be used both on the stove top and in the oven!

Quality knife set

Knowing how to cut and chop is probably where you will save the biggest amount of time in preparing Real Food. If you do not have a good knife skills, get these skills. Seriously, take a class, watch a video such this one from Jamie Oliver and get your knife skills on.

You only need 3 styles of knives to get going in a Real Food kitchen:

1.  8″ Chef’s Knife

This is my baby! It’s important that you have a good relationship with this knife because you will spend most of your time with this guy! This is the knife you’ll use for chopping vegetables, herbs, slicing steak, carvingthe chicken, whacking coconuts – you name it.

2. Pairing Knife

A tiny paring knife is a proof that size matters. There are certain tasks in the kitchen (like paring, duh) that are nearly impossible for anyone but experts to accomplish with a big old chef’s knife.

3. Bread Knife

This is one of the three knives that you could go without…but it is nice to have. Obviously, for anything “bread life” or fluffy, or even for very ripe tomatoes, you will use this knife.

The secret to enjoying food prep: a very sharp knife! I’m serious, this is THE secret. You can either get yourself a knife sharpening stone and learn to do it yourself, or find a knife/kitchen shop with a sharpener technician that you trust.

Glass containers

My #1 tip to spend less time in the kitchen for all my clients: Bulk Cooking. Simply put: Go big or Go home. Set a time in the week when you will mass prep and cook food for a few days – even up to 1 week in advance.

kitchen essential toolsNow you made all this beautiful and delicious Real Food to fuel your healthy body so you need to store it. This is when your glass containers contribute to maintaining your food to be a nutritious and healthy as possible.

Plastic containers contain many chemicals – some of which have been identified as potentially harmful. You should avoid two chemicals in particular: bisphenol A and phthalates. Both of these chemicals interfere with human hormones (most particularly the female hormone “estrogen”). When plastic is heated, the chemical is leached into the food and then absorbed into your body.

My go-to is the large 1 quart (950 ml)wide mouth quart jars (1 dozen is a good starting point) and 1-multiple glass storage containers .

Immersion Blender

kitchen essential toolsEver since I got this baby, I don’t use my food processor as much. The immersion blender is super inexpensive and saves so much time. Plus, it’s so easy to clean. The Immersion Blender combined with a mason jar, will allow you to make mayo in less than 5 minutes. You will never again fail at mayo! Put it right into the pot and blend your favourite soups, creams, lattes, etc.


Crock Pot or Slow cooker

This is going to save you a tons of time, make you enjoy cooking and give you the most awesome tool to make my essential healing drink: Bone Broth. My crock pot  is on my counter top all year long because this is how much I use it.

Tip: here is how you bulk cook. Make your bone broth in the slow cooker at the same time as a roast in the oven, you’re at the frying pan cooking a huge stir fry, or while a dozen eggs are being hard-boiled in the sauce pan.

Grater or Mandolin

This seems odd to most but I use this tool all the time and it kitchen essential toolssaves me time slicing and dicing. I use my grater to prepare sweet potatoes for hash, grated ginger for my teas, for better garlic absorption, and grating carrots and cabbage for fermented foods, etc. It’s cheap and again saves a bunch of time!


This is the last one for a reason… this is where you can go very simple or completely splurge. You can buy this one or go big and buy a Vitamix or Blentec. One thing for sure, if you are going to make shakes, smoothies or ice cream, you need one. Smoothies are probably the easiest way for you to get in your 6-8 cups of veggies/day.

I didn’t buy a  blender- Vitamin right away.  I’ll admit that it is pretty pricey (around $400.00). I got mine as a Christmas gift from Costco. The difference between a regular blender and a high speed blender is the power of the engine. This provides you with greater power to grind, blend and mix food. If you are going to try to make your own nut milk or nut butter, the high speed blender is what you need to get.

Simplicity with the right kitchen tools

Living a real food life is about taking action, each day, one day at a time – doing the right thing when it comes to the food you fuel your body with, in a very Real Simple manner. The right kitchen tools are needed for the simplicity factor and the joy you get when you are cooking with ease!

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My Secret Ways to Reduce Anxiety

My Secret Ways to Reduce Anxiety

Anxiety is probably one of the top complaints of most of the women I work with. The National Institute of Health estimates that 40 million adults experience anxiety daily. I get it as my anxiety has landed me in the hospital. This is how I learned some effective ways to reduce anxiety. 

In my free and private community, we have daily activities to help us reduce stress and anxiety such as cultivating gratitude and intention setting.

Anxiety is an umbrella term for many symptoms or body messages such as stress, panic attacks, worry, tension, restlessness, and/or fear. Our body communicates with us through our symptoms and disease or as we call them here – body messages. Anxiety is just one of these body messages or symptoms.

What is Anxiety?

Technically, anxiety is apprehension over an upcoming event. We anticipate the future with sometimes scary predictions that don’t necessarily have any basis in truth. In everyday life, physical and emotional symptoms of anxiety can mean an increased heart rate, poor concentration at work and school, sleep problems, mood swings, food cravings, etc…

We can choose to think negative thoughts of fear, anger, jealousy, and worry about the upcoming event or we can choose to be positive and loving. When we chose fear, anger, jealousy, and/or worry, we send a message to our body that something bad is about to happen. Then the reaction to our message prepares the physical body to respond to that dangerous upcoming event.

Physiology of anxiety

Our autonomic nervous system primarily regulates our unconscious actions such as our heart rate, digestion, respiratory rate, pupillary response, urination, and sexual arousal. There are two divisions: the parasympathetic (aka rest and digest state) and sympathetic (aka fight or flight state). As you can imagine, anxiety is managed via the parasympathetic nervous division.

Ways to reduce anxiety

Being a long-term state of “fight or flight” can have a dramatic effect on our mental and physical health. Unless you find ways to reduce anxiety, it can affect various organs that can cause severe conditions with lifelong consequences: high blood pressure, weaken and poor immune function, heart conditions, skin conditions, adrenal fatigue, poor digestive health, gas, bloating, unexplained weight gain, poor sleep, inability to have intercourse, etc..

Why is anxiety so prevalent today?

There are two main reasons for the increased prevalence of anxiety – constant stimulation and a lack of mind awareness.

The average person doesn’t have enough time to cook their own food and move daily, therefore, quieting the mind so we can observe our thoughts is no longer part of our life. We no longer practice exercise that favors mind awareness such as deep breathing, meditation or tai chi so our mind is allowed to run free. We have the power to control what type of thoughts our mind produces… it just takes practice.

We are stimulated from the time we wake up in the morning to the time we go to sleep. We are being stimulated by waking up with an alarm, running to get the kids to school, traffic, a crazy inbox, a jam-packed schedule all day, driving back home to get the kids on time, cooking dinner, taking the kids back out for their activities, exercise, social media, etc… All this alongside a smart phone that consistently beeps/ rings and alerts us that we are missing something somewhere!! Now compound this with our desire to keep up with the Jones, unhealthy nutrition and very little time to relax, we have a formula for a very stressed and anxious body and mind.

I was there you know… in my case, it went as far as a panic attack. My body was completely shutting down my overwhelmed nervous system. I was overdoing everything: work, food, driving, talking, computers, etc…I didn’t listen to all the messages my body was sending me along the way. Don’t let it get to this point.

Ways to Reduce Anxiety: Your Action Plan

  • Learn to breathe: A useful tool to prevent panic attacks. The breath is also a great marker of where your anxiety level is at throughout the day.
  • Get enough sleep: Especially when feeling anxious, try to schedule a full seven to nine hours of snooze time and see what a few nights of sweet slumber do for those anxiety levels throughout the day.
  • Eat right: You knew I was going to go there – lol! Eat food that contains nutrients such as Vitamin B and Omega-3s. Studies have linked Vitamin B with good mental health, and Omega-3s may help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. Probiotic foods help regulate the good gut bacteria in your tummy which regulate levels of serotonin, the “feel-good” neurotransmitter that helps us remain calm. Even though our cravings tells us the opposite, ditching the caffeine and sugar is the right thing to do as both are just another stimulant for our nervous system.
  • Unplug: very simply: disconnect from all modern technology every so often: smartphones, computers, iPads, tv, music, etc… and spend more time in silence or nature.
  • Quality Supplements: if your diet is not on point and anxiety is taking over, you may need some support while you get your nutrition and lifestyle on track. Magnesium bis glycinate is my #1 go-to followed by passionflower and valerian root.

The Takeaways

In an ideal world, we wouldn’t come up with thoughts that produce stress or anxiety. But we’re human and inevitably worry about things. So when we do start to freak out, feel stressed, and/or be anxious, there are lots of ways to reduce anxiety so that we can change our thoughts, calm the brain, relax the body, and get back in the game. It starts by being aware, knowing what to do and making that choice!

Question: Now that you know my secrets, I’d like to hear from you. What are your own ways to reduce anxiety? Any tips and advice that worked for you?

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I’m Stephanie Dodier - Clinical Nutritionist, Intuitive Eating expert, Podcast host, and Creator of the Going Beyond The Food Method™️, which was born from my own journey with chronic dieting & body image and has since grown into a global movement.

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