Superfoods! A guide by Jody Kriss

You may have heard of superfoods, those foods that have high concentrations of health-enhancing nutrients. Cacao, chia seeds, goji berries and blue-green algae are just a few examples. Many of these foods are traditionally used by indigenous cultures and have been in use for thousands of years. Super foods can boost the functioning of particular organs or bodily systems and can also address overall health. Let me, Jody Kriss, guide you through this and achieve better health!

To get started exploring these nutritional powerhouses, here are a few guidelines:

1. Start where you are (how you feel and want to feel, what appeals, what seems accessible).

2. Explore one category at a time (green, fruit & nut, bee superfoods, fermented foods, seaweed, herbs)

3. Start seasonally – certain foods are more useful in specific seasons. For example, green superfoods are good for spring and summer, whereas some of the stronger fermented ones are too cooling for mid-winter. Choose one or two foods to try at a time, especially paying attention to how they fit the season.

Green Superfoods

Green superfoods are filled with chlorophyll, which makes them cleansing, cooling and energizing. Perfect for summer. They have the highest concentrations of easily digestible nutrients, fat burning compounds, vitamins and minerals to protect and heal the body. They contain a wide array of beneficial substances including proteins, protective phyto-chemicals and healthy bacteria helping you to build cleaner muscles and tissues, aid your digestive system function and more effectively protect you against disease and illness.

Here are Jody Kriss‘ recommendations on a few green superfoods to try:

• Wild Bluegreen Algae (try – Algae was the first form of life on Earth and its power is immense. Wild blue-green algae is a phyto-plankton and contains virtually every nutrient. With a 60% protein content and a more complete amino acid profile than beef or soy beans. It contains one of the best known food sources of beta carotene, B vitamins and chlorophyll. It has been shown to improve brain function and memory, strengthen the immune system and help with viruses, colds and flu.

• Spirulina – Spirulina is a cultivated micro-algae which has been consumed for thousands of years by the indigenous peoples in Mexico and Africa. It is one of the highest known protein sources on Earth and contains 70% complete protein, towering over steak which consists of only 25% protein once cooked. Studies have shown that spirulina can help control blood sugar levels and cravings thus making it a key food for diabetics, and can be used to assist in weight loss and as a general nutritional supplement.

• Chlorella – Chlorella is a fresh water algae and like its other algae cousins contains a complete protein profile, all the B vitamins, vitamin C and E and many minerals. It is amazing for the immune system and for reducing cholesterol and preventing the hardening of the arteries, a precursor to heart attacks and strokes.

• Wheat Grass – Wheat grass is the sprouted grass of a wheat seed. Unlike the whole grain, because it has been sprouted, it no longer contains gluten or other common allergic agents. Wheat grass is super alkalizing and is excellent for promoting healthy blood. It normalizes the thyroid gland to stimulate metabolism thus assisting digestion and promoting weight loss due also to its high enzyme content and cleansing effect.

• Green Leafy Vegetables – Green leafy vegetables are so readily available and so highly nutritious, however most people do not eat enough of them. Studies continuously confirm that populations that eat a diet high in green leafy vegetables run a far lower risk of heart disease and cancer. Fresh raw green leafy vegetables contain high doses of chlorophyll, easily digestible proteins, enzymes and a wide range of vitamins and minerals. These particular vegetables act as mini-transfusions for the blood, a health tonic for the brain and immune system and a cleanser of the kidneys. Try any of the following: rocket, spinach, dandelion greens, kale, watercress, parsley, lettuce, endive, chicory, broccoli sprouts and mustard sprouts.

• Green smoothies (basic recipe): A few chunks of apple or pear; A dash of juice or coconut water, if desired; A tablespoon of almond or other nut butter (optional); One to three leaves of kale; Half cup or so of ice. Blend all until icy and smooth.

Tips for Renting Your First Apartment

Congratulations on renting your first apartment! This is a huge step for many people, and even more so if this is your first time getting a place on your own. When I was 22, I made the very same decision, but I ran into a couple of blunders that I wish I had been aware of at the beginning. So, to save you from all the trouble I had to go through, I’m sharing my top 4 tips when it comes to renting your first apartment.

1. Think about what kind of environment you’d be happiest living in. There are a lot of questions you should ask yourself when you’re apartment hunting. You want to make sure that the place you eventually end up renting is a place that you can go home to and feel relaxed and peaceful.

That’s why it’s important for you now to decide exactly what type of environment would be most suitable for you. Would you prefer living in the city or away from the city center? Is it important for you to live close to work? Do you want to live in a pet-friendly building? Once you’ve got an idea of where you’d like to be, it’ll narrow down your choices and make apartment hunting that much easier!

2. Plan out your budget. Renting an apartment can be quite costly! It isn’t just about how much rent you’re going be paying your landlord every month. In the first month, you may be asked to pay a security deposit (equal to one month’s rent) to the landlord in case you damage the apartment, and a pet deposit if you’re planning on bringing a furry friend.

In addition,  you can visit if utilities aren’t included in the cost of your rent, you’ll be responsible for paying your gas, hot water, electricity, and Internet/cable bill every month. If you have a car, you should also ask if parking is free. Make sure you’re aware of what utilities are and aren’t included before you sign the lease, so that you can budget how much you’ll be spending per month for rent and utilities.

3. Read all the terms and conditions of your lease before you sign it. Ultimately, it is your responsibility as a tenant to be aware of the rules set out in your rental contract. Are there any visitor restrictions? Any rules in regards to noise level? How long is your rental contract? How much notice are you supposed to give your landlord when you want to end your lease? Is subletting allowed in your apartment complex? These are all things that should be laid out in your lease.

4. Take photos of the apartment the day you move in. Before you move any of your furniture into the apartment and get settled in, get out your camera and take photographs of the entire place. Make sure you take the time to survey any damage in the apartment. If you see any scratches, dents or bumps anywhere, take photos! This will save you a lot of money and hassle in the future if your landlord ever accuses you of creating the damage

Another way to document the damage in the apartment is to make notes of any problems on a piece of paper, and then have the landlord sign off on it. Then, make a photocopy for each person.  I really can’t emphasize enough how important this step is.  That’s how we can prevent when renting,because it’s now one of your Properties. I have seen friends lose their entire security deposit just because they didn’t know to document any damage beforehand, so don’t let that happen to you.

Decorating Solutions for Small Spaces

It seems like more and more people are living in smaller places nowadays. When I look around my own city, I can see so many new apartment and condo buildings being constructed. When you’re living in a smaller area, you want to try to get the most out of the space that you do have. From personal experience, I know it’s very uncomfortable to live in a home that feels tiny and cramped. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of the best decorating tips to make a small space feel and look bigger.

The most important thing to remember when you’re decorating a small space is to try to draw the eyes upwards and outwards. You want to create the illusion that the room is expanding into something bigger.

That leads us to Tip #1.

Hang your drapes as high as you can. This will make your ceilings look higher and your window bigger. Hanging curtains from the ceiling level will draw your eyes to look upwards, allowing the ceiling to look higher than it actually is. In addition, when your curtains are open, the window will actually let in more natural sunlight than it would if you had hung the drapes right around the edges of the window frame. Light allows a room to look brighter and therefore, bigger.

Hang portraits and posters higher so that your eyes will be drawn upwards along the walls. Again, we want to trick the eyes into seeing a bigger room. You don’t want to hang TOO many portraits though, because then you risk having the room feel closed-in and crowded.

Notice how these drapes were hung higher above the window frame, creating the illusion of a bigger windowKeep your apartment as clean and uncluttered as you can. What’s the fastest way to make a small area look even more crowded? Leave a mess everywhere. We all have a lot of things, but there are cost-saving solutions to clutter. For example, you can nail hooks on the wall to hang up your hats, scarves or keys instead of throwing them on the couch or tables. If you try to keep things as organized as possible, your place will feel a lot cleaner and roomier.

Maximize your storage space.  Living in an apartment will give you endless opportunities to get creative with storage space. Installing floor-to-ceiling shelves and ledges is a great way to give you more storage space without being bulky. A lot of people install floating shelves in their living room so that they can put some items on display. I always suggest storing things upwards, not outwards.

The photograph below is an excellent example of an apartment that has really maximized its storage potential. The owners have installed wall shelves beside the window and the doorway, and also put a bookshelf on the left side of the window to store their things. Now the apartment looks neat. Also take note of how high they’ve hung their drapes. Doesn’t it make the room look brighter and bigger?Some other storage options are:

Storing things in baskets under the bed. I personally like this idea because then you can’t see the things you store. The less clutter you see, the better!

I’ve seen people hang wire baskets on their bathroom walls to store towels and other toiletries. It’s a good idea if you have a small bathroom and are running out of space

Buy furniture that can multitask as a storage container. For example, there are coffee tables that have multiple drawers in them. These are great for maximizing space in your living room. A cramped living room is one that has too much clutter and furniture in it.

What better way to get rid of the clutter than to hide things inside your coffee table? I’ve also seen beds and sofas with drawers in them!Buy tables with glass, acrylic or lucite tops. These 3 materials are all transparent and can reflect light very well. Since your eyes travel through their clear surfaces,  you end up seeing a less cramped room. I’ve seen a lot of people have glass dining tables or coffee tables with a glass top.

Mirrors are your best friend. If your apartment gets a lot of natural sunlight, consider yourself lucky. Natural sunlight really opens up the interior, and the best way to maximize the amount of natural sunlight you’re getting is to put a big mirror opposite the window. Since mirrors reflect light around a room, you can expect to see a brighter room and feel more of an open flow.

Design your room with lighter hues to open up the space. Dark colours have the tendency to make a space look more enclosed, and that’s why we want to avoid them at all costs. I would recommend going for a simple, neutral palette for instance visit the link for more gentle colors. That means lighter walls and lighter furniture.  Notice in the photograph below, this apartment’s living room looks particularly spacious, as it has a nice neutral-colored palette. They’ve also hung their drapes close to the ceiling AND installed floating shelves behind the couch for extra storage space