Fish Highest in Omega 3

By Nicole Di Nardo

AUGUST 31, 2017


You may have asked yourself,

"Which fish are healthy for me and the ocean?"

Are you eating fish for it's health benefits and want to maximize on Omega 3 fatty acids? Here is a lit of carnivorous fish that eat smaller fish that eat plankton, which is where all that sexy alpha-linolenic acid comes from.

Why do we need Omega-3 again?

It's ESSENTIAL for proper brain function, affects vision, learning co-ordination and mood. Also, cultural diets with a high level of omega 3 like the Japanese, have low rates of cardiovascular disease.To be exact, they have 3 times more omega 3 in their diet than the average American. 

Tip #1 make sure it's a wild COLD WATER fish.

Tip #2  Always opt for sustainable. Avoid the salmon or swordfish if you can choose the mackerel. Mackerel has 10 times more omega 3 than swordfish.Here is a list in order of highest to lowest:

Fish highest in omega 3:

  • Mackerel

  • Herrring

  • Lake Trout

  • Salmon

  • Tuna

  • Sardines

  • Swordfish

  • Whitefish

Source: "New Optimum Nutrition Bible" Patrick Holford 2004




The Power of Cultivation

By Karissa Grillo


January 8, 2018 


I believe that the most interesting part of a human being is their soul. The "soul" can go by many other names, but essentially what I'm talking about is the thing that exists once you remove the body along with all of it's senses. Our souls have the ability to navigate the world through our bodies, which is already a spectacular thing in itself. But the question that I've always had is do we actually understand the full potential of our souls? Do we know what we can create for ourselves, for others or for the world? The potential is infinite, if you want it to be. 


Let's get down to the basics. Close your eyes and say the words "I am amazing" without making a sound. Did you hear that? Keep your eyes closed and picture yourself swimming in the ocean, feel the warmth of the water around you and the lightness of your body floating. How good did that feel? Close your eyes once again and rub your hands together really fast for 20 seconds, then gently place your hands over your eyes. Feel the warmth of the energy that you are giving to yourself. 

Everything that you just experienced was real and will have an effect on your life.

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Everything that has happened to you when you were young is now the past. Understand that you have the power to change the patterns of your life. Every time you react out of fear or anger, question your reactions. Ask yourself where is this reaction coming from and why. You cannot blame someone else for your reaction because your anger or fear is coming from a place that you have not healed yet. Your reactions and attitudes come from no one other than yourself. Take responsibility for who you are and who you want to be. This is a life long journey, so be patient with yourself. You are already an incredible person for taking that first step towards healing. 

Did you know that you can manifest and cultivate anything that you want in this world? The secret is that it has to be done with good intentions and pure love. You have the ability to create the world that you want to live in. Spend time every day closing your eyes and envisioning the life that you want and really believe that it already exists for you. The more you practice this, the stronger your energy field becomes. The stronger your energy field becomes, the more control you have over the destiny of your life. 

Ultimately, what I want for you is to wake up with passion and excitement for your life. There is no better person to count on than yourself. I hope you continue to focus on yourself so that others can continue to be inspired and loved by you. 

I'd like to share one of my favourite passages with you from the book "The Master" by Chao-Hsiu Chen, 

"Each person carries a great wisdom in himself, but nobody finds this ancient treasure because it is buried under mountains of grief. Once you learn to remove the rubble of sorrow and pain, you can see the treasure gleam in the light of the eternal Sun."








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Belly Love : 5 Reasons to Stop Throwing Shade on your Core

By Nicole Di Nardo

FEBRUARY 18, 2017 

Here is some food for thought: I have made some connections lately with my self worth as a direct reflection of thought patterns. I’ve learned how destructive ‘self talk’ can be and have tried to stop being mean to myself in my own head.

I have also been thinking (as a Nutritionist does) about ways to improve digestion as I believe it to be the most valuable aspect to our health when it is performing optimally.

But then I look in the mirror every morning after a shower or when I try on an outfit and think “I hate my belly fat”. Every single day, and often many times in a day, I send a little message of hate to my core. I’ve learned that, not only will this thought pattern diminish my digestion, but my belly is the site of so much more.

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Belly Love : 5 Reasons to Stop Throwing Shade on your Core

1)   Solar Plexus: Your belly is the site of the third chakra called the Solar Plexus. It is located in your upper stomach and above the navel. This Chakra is the core of your identity as it governs personality, identity and ego. It is the center of your self-esteem, confidence, self-worth and personal power. If you look in the mirror every morning and tell yourself you hate your ‘belly fat’, you are diminishing the power of your Solar Plexus and effectually breaking down your self worth on a daily basis. Please stop doing this.  More on this.


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2)   Your Core: Muscularly speaking, it is common to refer to the centre place of strength and energy as your ‘core’. We see this in fitness instruction and exercises that remind you to ‘Strengthen your Core’ or ‘Pull in your Core’ when doing exercises.  I believe they are on the right path anatomically, noting how central the core is for overall strength, but something is missing.  There is an obsession to have ‘six-pack abs’ and the media presents this as the only way to be proud of your core. What is the result of this mentality? If you DON'T have ‘six-pack abs’ then you are inferior. Further propagating core hatred. So I say love your rolls. The effect of sending love to your core will go far beyond muscle strength…


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3)   Digestion: Your ability to break down and assimilate food is reliant on a properly functioning digestion. Assimilated food literally turns into ‘YOU’. It is the building blocks of every bodily process from hormones to blood cells and skin. If your digestion is sluggish, so is your metabolism. Weight gain can be the result of impaired digestion as we need the building blocks of vitamins and minerals to burn fat and remove it from the body.  So send your belly some love, if not for an improved metabolism, then for your overall health…

4)   “All disease starts in the gut”. It was the ancient philosopher Hippocrates who said nearly 2000 years ago that  we can trace all elements of disease to the gut, which is the small and large intestines located in the lower part of your abdomen. The same place as your ‘Solar Plexus’ and your ‘Core’. This may seem obvious in conditions such as Type II Diabetes and Liver Disease, but can be linked to so many others such as Auto-Immune Disease, Heart Disease, Cancer and more. Digestion is the key to preventing these illnesses, so eat something today that is good for your gut.


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5) The Gut-Brain Connection: The gut is the source of our microbiome: billions of beneficial bacteria working together to influence immunity and defence, digestion, mental health and so much more. As this topic extends the scope of this article I will just say this: digestion can influence mental health. Think of it this way: your happy hormones, called Serotonin, are made up of amino-acids. One of the most important amino-acids is Tryptophan, which cannot be made by the body so it needs to come from our diet. Tryptophan comes from broken down protein such as turkey meat, spinach etc. If your gut is not breaking down protein efficiently, then there won’t be enough Tryptophan to create the happy hormone Serontonin. The result can lead to depression, anxiety, emotional instability, inability to manage stress and so on.  So love your gut, it’s the only one you have. 




Unable to get through your MRI? You're not alone.

By Karissa Grillo


January 29, 2018


Naturally, most people fear being strapped down and closed off in a confined space. It challenges our freedom and can bring out thoughts that lead to panic. Not only is it uncomfortable but more likely than not you are in there because the Doctor wanted to investigate a health issue a little further - which doesn't help the anxiety level. I am here to tell you that there are tools that can help you get through it. I'd like to share my personal story with you as I had a very difficult time getting through an MRI myself. 

After a year of stress tests, ECGs and sleepless nights, the Doctors came to the conclusion that I have Supraventricular Tachychardia. This basically means that my heart beat can start to race at any time at a very high speed. I could be sitting on my couch and my heart rate will soar to 300bpm when it should really only be at 75bpm. The biggest risk that I face is my heart rate staying at that speed for more than a couple of minutes which ultimately could lead to cardiac arrest. The interesting part though is that I've had this for over 10 years and had just confused it for severe anxiety. 


I spent most of my teenage years thinking that I was highly nervous or that I had infinite amounts of energy. I had a lot of episodes where I had so much energy I would black out. I now understand today that my heart rate was racing faster than my body could handle which would lead to a complete shut down. I wanted to cure my "anxiety" at the time so I took matters into my own hands. I completely changed my diet to a whole food clean diet, started taking yoga and meditation classes and began training in mixed martial arts. I never drank anything with caffeine and I didn't drink alcohol or smoke because those would trigger the blackout episodes.

I feel very grateful that I had access to all these tools as a teenager and that I've brought them into my adulthood because I have found them very useful during surgeries and uncomfortable doctors appointments. It truly is mind over matter, but the trick is exercising that practice everyday so that it can come in handy when you most need it. 


Along with many other tests, I had to have a MRI done. So I'm lying down in a hospital gown on my back and the MRI technician starts to strap my arms onto the table. I'm starting to panic but I can still keep my cool. He puts sound blocking headphones over my head and explains that it's going to be a very noisy experience. I have a needle taped into my left arm because they need to inject metal into my blood stream and it's very uncomfortable. The MRI technician sends the liquid through my veins and I can smell and taste the metal. They press the button and send me into the MRI machine which is a very small and dark tube where I was instructed to lie completely still. I can't hear anything other than my breath and I have now told myself that I need to get out and that I will not be doing this today. I then battle with myself and convince myself that I will at least try to talk myself through it. I close my eyes and start to do some meditation breathing techniques. I relax my body and envision myself in my bed about to take an hour nap. The MRI technician now has me inhaling and holding my breath and exhaling and holding my breath so that they can get a picture of my heart. I find that this helps me greatly as it is another type of meditation breathing technique. I panicked throughout the entire experience but I was able to get through it by talking to myself and understanding that there was no danger and that after the hour was up I would be able to move my body once again and walk right out of there. 

Fear is a strange thing, it has the ability to completely cripple the body and take over your mind. Fear is completely essential in our lives, but it's important to recognize when we are in danger and when we are not. It's unhealthy for our bodies to go through fight or flight mode every time we have an uncomfortable doctors appointment or when we're walking home alone at night in the dark. Try becoming aware of every time your body goes into fear mode unnecessarily. Work on talking yourself through the moment and over time those unnecessary fears will dissipate. 



Foods to Eat for Happiness

By Nicole Di Nardo

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March 8, 2018

To be happy. Coupled with health, this is the most common aspiration in life. It's a desire that we all share, regardless of class, culture or origin. The happiness effect can be measured by Serotonin – one of the main neurotransmitters responsible for happiness. Did you know that 70-90% of serotonin can be found in the gut! It's used in the brain, but must be produced in the gut first. In this article, I will be looking at happiness at a cellular level with the perspective of a Holistic Nutritionist. Investigating what nutrients are at the core of that 'happy' feeling, the neurotransmitters and hormones involved and how effective nutrition can be in contributing to happiness.



Unfortunately, serotonin is not found in food. But the good news is, its precursor Tryptophan is highly attainable. There are four major hormones and neurotransmitters which govern happiness: Dopamine, Serotonin, Oxytocin and Endorphins. For the purpose of this article, we will focus on Serotonin: a neurotransmitter which balances mood and is largely responsible for the feelings of happiness and wellbeing. Those who are depressed are found to have low levels of serotonin. Western medicine deals with depression and anxiety by prescribing SSRI's (Selective Serotonin Re-Uptake Inhibitors) – which basically means they encourage the circulation of serotonin in the body.


  1. Tryptophan – main precursor to serotonin (happy neurotransmitter)

  2. Vitamin D – think SAD (seasonal affective disorder). Without it, we're sad.

  3. Omega 3 Fatty Acids – Provides many key nutrients


Tryptophan is an amino acid (building blocks of protein). Tryptophan is our key into eating for happiness because it is a direct precursor to make Serotonin – one of the main happiness neurotransmitters. Remember, serotonin is responsible for feelings of overall happiness and well being. Western anti-depressants (SSRI's) work by recycling serotonin in the brain. But if we eat foods high in tryptophan, we're able to encourage the production of more serotonin. If depression is linked to LOW serotonin in the body, then eating foods high in it's main building blocks can help to increase levels of serotonin. Tryptophan is also a precursor to melatonin, the hormone responsible for your body's internal clock (circadian rhythm) and controls sleep patterns. This is what is responsible for feelings of sleepiness after eating a lot of turkey on Thanksgiving because turkey is one of the highest sources of tryptophan.



Omega 3 fatty acids are essential fats that cannot be manufactured by the body and must be consumed in our food or through supplementation. Along with being highly anti-inflammatory, these fats are shown to be protective for the brain against free-radical damage. Many studies have been conducted on the treatment of depression with Omega-3 supplementation. Certain types of EPA and DHA – which are TYPES of Omega 3 fatty acids - have been strongly linked to mental health conditions. The only way to obtain these types of Omega 3 fatty acids is through fish and some algae. If you want to obtain the benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids in a plant-based diet, the only way to do this is through ALA Omega 3, which is a precursor to EPA and DHA (the key Omega 3's). One of the highest plant based forms of ALA is in flaxseed.



Vitamin D is a very important nutrient for health. Along with other amazing traits, it has been used as treatment in the prevention of depression. A deficiency of vitamin D has been linked to depression.

The problem is, Vitamin D is difficult to obtain in food. It is found naturally in eggs and fish, but that's about it. Some foods may be fortified with vitamin D, but it would be the same as taking a supplement. If you're going to supplement with Vitamin D, which is highly suggested if you don't live in a warm climate, make sure you buy Vitamin D-3 which is more bio-available than D2.




Turkey is one of the highest food sources of tryptophan. To treat depression it is recommended to take 150-300mg / day of tryptophan (5-htp). Yet 1 serving of ground turkey provides 250mg!


Omega - 3

Mackerel is a small, fatty, cold-water fish that boasts some of the highest levels of omega-3 Fatty Acids. It is also considered a sustainable fish and has relatively low toxicity due to its small size. 


Vitamin D

Salmon. 1 portion can provide up to 360 of the recommended 1000 IU of vitamin D per day. Always opt for sustainable, wild salmon. 



It's important to look at the foods that we should avoid so that the beneficial foods can do their work in increasing happiness. As a general rule, it is important to avoid artificial stimulants that have a rollercoaster effect on our mood, energy levels and blood sugar balance. Think about the highs and lows of coffee. You drink it, you feel focused and alert, then a few hours later you feel exhausted and cloudy. Then you drink another coffee and you feel alert again! This rollercoaster ride can cause an emotional dump, which is what we're trying to avoid. To maintain an even sense of calmness, overall well being and happiness, you need to aim for balance. Below are some of the top foods to be avoided for optimum happiness:


  1. Caffeine: Coffee, green tea, black tea, energy drinks or anything with an artificial stimulant. These are some of the key perpitrators in producing highs and LOWS of depression.

  2. Sugar and Refined Foods: foods that are high in refined sugars and flours have a way of getting into the bloodstream very quickly. They produce increased energy and then the inevitable crash. This does not just mean table sugar. Think about all the places that sugar can hide. Even 2 slices of whole wheat toast can have the same effect on your blood sugar as 6 teaspoons of sugar! The way to avoid these foods is to eat clean: whole vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, meat and fish. Real food does not have ingredients, real food IS ingredients.

  3. Alcohol: this has the same effect on your body as caffeine. You feel good, then you feel REALLY bad. Avoid this bodily toxin if you want to work on a balanced mood and sense of well being.


Making sure you aren't deficient in the main building blocks to create happy hormones is key in leading a happy and healthy lifestyle. As the majority of serotonin is made in your gut, it's important to feed yourself all the goodness needed to be happy. Follow these tips and tricks on a consistent basis and you'll see for yourself how your mood can be lifted through food.




Life Without Caffeine

3 Reasons Why

by Nicole Di Nardo


April 10, 2018

For many people,  coffee is their Achilles' Heel. The aroma, the dark taste, the way it makes you feel. I get it. It can be great. What I don't love is the inevitable crash. About an hour later your energy plummets and you feel drained. And so you go searching for another coffee or sweet, chocolate, anything that will give you a boost to get through your day. The high you get from coffee comes with a price. 

Top 3 Reasons to Limit Caffeine

  1. SPIKE AND CRASH ROLLERCOASTER. As caffeine is an artificial stimulant, it can give you a wonderfully high energy boost (sometimes too high... I'm looking at you twitchy). Inevitably the crash follows and nobody wants to feel that low. Most people just accept it as normal because they've been drinking coffee for so many years, they just accept the 3pm slump as a normal part to your day. But it doesn't have to be!

  2. STRESS BOMB. As caffeine artificially stimulates your energy, it also releases higher amounts of cortisol than your body would do naturally. If you're not living on a beach somewhere, you likely have enough things causing stress in your day. Contributing to the overall stimulation of cortisol isn't exactly what your body needs.

  3. LEADS TO POOR FOOD CHOICES. I'm talking about when your energy tanks, your blood sugar tanks and you look for anything to give you a boost. When you're in this state, self control usually goes out the window, as your brain is searching for quick energy. And what's the brains preferred form of energy? GLUCOSE. Quick sugar.

For all these reasons, I have developed a drink recipe that allows me to engage in the social and warming aspect of a cup of coffee, without the caffeine. You may be asking at this point ' But Nicole, what about DECAF?". Decaf still has remnants of caffeine and is further processed to remove the caffeine from it. Anything that goes through such processing isn't ideal for our body to break down. So here is my super foods, mood and energy regulating recipe for a gentle lift of energy. Use this drink to replace your morning coffee or as a pre-work out. 


I've utilized Maca in this recipe because it is a superfood like no other. It comes from Peru as a root vegetable, but carries infamous medicinal properties. 


For this recipe you need a blender. Make sure you don't use a magic bullet or a blender that doesn't have a place to release steam, as it might explode (trust me!). 


  • 1 tsp coconut oil

  • 2 tsp chicory coffee substitute powder (i like Bambu)

  • 1 tsp maca powder

  • 1/2 tsp raw cocoa powder

  • 2 cups warm milk or alternative

  • 1-2 tsp maple syrup (optional)


  1. Heat milk on a stove top until warm.

  2. Place all ingredients in a blender including milk and blitz until frothy (about 20 seconds).




Hungry BECAUSE You’re Tired

By Nicole Di Nardo


August 28, 2018

You already know how important sleep is to a healthy lifestyle. If you haven't gotten a good night's sleep, you feel it in your bones, in your energy levels and even focus. But did you know that you are more hungry and less satiated when you haven't slept well? Basically food just doesn't satisfy as it should, and you end up eating more than you would. 

Poor sleep quality has been linked to an increase risk of obesity, and it's all about the hormones. There are two hormones that regulate hunger and appetite: Ghrelin and Leptin.


When you've had restful and adequate sleep, the hormone Leptin is increased which sends a signal to your brain that you are full after eating. This hormone has an inverse relationship with Ghrelin. When sleep is inadequate or not deep enough, ghrelin is produced in higher amounts which creates an insatiable hunger. If you have restless sleep and find yourself always hungry, this may be the reason.

How to Know if your Sleep is Adequate?

  • Do you wake up still feeling tired and unrested?

  • Do you get less than 7 hours of sleep?

  • Have you been diagnosed with sleep apnea?

  • Do you wake up in the middle of the night, even to urinate?

  • Does it take you longer than 30 min to fall asleep?

  • Does your Fitbit show fragmented sleep patterns?

If you've answered yes to 1 or several of these questions, you're likely not getting adequate sleep.

Naturally Improve Sleep Quality 

There are a number of useful herbs, supplements and lifestyle changes that can increase your sleep quality that are non-habit forming. Here is a list of my favorites.

  1. MAGNESIUM:  This important mineral is not only essential, but it is also found in low supply in North America. In fact, it is one of the top 3 commonly deficient nutrients. It also helps to relax the muscles of the body. This is why Epsom salt baths are so relaxing because it's 100% magnesium! Taking at least 400mg of magnesium before bed can help you get to sleep and stay asleep. And you're satisfying a nutritional requirement while you're at it. If you experience diarrhea, reduce the dose.  

  2. VALERIAN ROOT: This time-tested natural remedy works like a charm. It has a hypnotic effect that makes you very sleepy, but is non-drowsy in the morning.  It is also non-habit forming as it subtly increases the brain neurotransmitter GABA which has a calming effect. I recommend St. Francis Valerian Tincture for best results. 

  3. 5-HTP: This amino acid (Tryptophan) is a precursor to Serotonin. It is a nutrient combination of GABA, increases overall feelings of euphoria and also helps to regulate the Circadian Rhythm. This nutrient has been assessed by the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index as an effective sleep aid. Note: do not take if on any anti-depressants or SSRI's

  4. LAVENDER OIL: Inhaling lavender oil  has been shown to increase sleepiness and reduce consciousness in many studies. Along with it's anti-anxiety effects, this wonderful aroma can be used as part of your sleep regime by placing a diffuser beside your bed or spraying your pillow with a diluted solution in water.

  5. REDUCE CAFFEINE: Having more than one coffee in the morning can have a negative effect on your sleep patterns. It becomes a vicious cycle: lack of sleep, need caffeine to function, can't sleep the next night. Stopping this cycle in its tracks by limiting caffeine consumption is often an easy fix to sleep problems. 

  6. 1-HOUR TECH FREE BEFORE BED: The blue light emitted from most of our beloved tech devices may be throwing off your body's natural sleep rhythm. Blue light is very stimulating and it can be difficult to re-adjust before bed. Create a tech-free zone in the bedroom and watch your sleep improve overnight. 

  7. AVOID DRINKING WATER BEFORE BED: This one may seem obvious, but it's very common. If you drink a big glass of water or tea right before bed, you will inevitably wake up in the middle of the night to urinate. This may seem harmless, but if you are interrupting a deep and restful sleep cycle with something that can be avoided, why not avoid it?

  8. AVOID ALCOHOL OR SWEETS BEFORE BED: Some people may rely on a nightcap to get them to sleep as it can have a sedative effect. But the end result may be even worse. Alcohol can interrupt a normalized blood sugar and can cause spikes in the middle of the night, causing you to wake up. Sweets have the same effect, spiking your blood sugar before bed then causing the inevitable hypoglycemic crash at about 3-4am. You may not realize it, but that chocolatey sweet may be to blame for your restless sleep. 

  9. BLACKOUT YOUR BEDROOM: Sleeping in a completely dark environment can improve the sleep cycle. Small flashing lights from, cell phones, modems, printers, alarm clocks or any other device can have a disruptive effect. Also, windows that let in street light will reduce sleep quality. 

  10. JOURNAL: Many people blame ruminating thoughts as the cause of their restless sleep or insomnia. You may be running through your to-do list all night long, stressing over whether you will remember. If you write down your thoughts, to-do list for the next day or even journaling about a problem that may be occupying your mind, your brain no longer needs to ruminate on these issues. Doing this right before bed is the important part.